‘Bigger the better’, says new major winner Georgia Hall

Georgia Hall poses with her trophy after winning the Ricoh Women's British Open. Picture: Getty Images
Georgia Hall poses with her trophy after winning the Ricoh Women's British Open. Picture: Getty Images
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New Ricoh Women’s British Open champion Georgia Hall is feeling quietly confident she can win more majors due to a “bigger the better” attitude.

The 22-year-old from Bournemouth had tasted success just once on the Ladies European Tour - in the Oates Vic Open in 2016 - and hadn’t won a regular event on the LPGA before landing her major breakthrough at Royal Lytham on Sunday.

She’s just the fifth British golfer to land a women’s major after Catriona Matthew, who won the same event at the same venue in 2009, Laura Davies, Karen Stupples and Alison Nicholas.

“I always joked to myself, because I hadn’t won a (big) tournament since I turned pro, that the first one would be a major,” she said. “I always used to say that. I’ve actually done it now.”

Hall had finished joint-third behind Korea’s IK Kim at Kingsbarns 12 months ago before giving a great account of herself as a Solheim Cup debutant in Des Moines.

“I think I save the best for the big events,” she added. “I don’t know what it is, but it’s more enjoyable for me and fun the bigger the competition is.

“You know, I really wanted to beat my position from last which was third, which was going to be a tough task, but I’m so happy that I’ve done it.”

Hall closed with a five-under-par 67 for a 17-under-par total, winning by two shots from Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum after the pair went toe-to-toe in the final group.

In the build up to the event, Hall had spoken to American Tom Lehman, who won the Open Championship at the Lancashire venue in 1996, and his advice to steer clear of the fairway bunkers in particular paid dividends.

“He texted me last night and just said, ‘Go Georgia. Hit fairways and greens and make your fair share of putts. I’m pulling for you,” revealed Hall. “He won here when I was four and it’s great to have him now as a friend.”

Hall said she’d been “furious” with herself for finding a fairway bunker at the second hole in the third round but managed to save par, a feat she achieved seven times out of seven from greenside traps.

“My think greenside bunker play is quite good and I managed to get up-and-down every time,” she said. I’m really proud of myself the way we made tough decisions off the tee and managed to commit to the right shots.

“I just had to say to myself, ‘as long as I’m on the fairway, then I’ve got a shot to the green and then it’s fine’.”

Hall took the lead for the first time the entire week with a birdie at the 16th before finding herself heading to the last tee with a three-shot lead after Phatlum ran up a double-bogey 6 at the 17th.

“I was more nervous yesterday than today. I didn’t feel much until the 18th,” said Hall. “I promised myself, if ever I was in this situation, I wouldn’t get ahead of myself and get like really happy because otherwise, I think I would mess a shot up.

“So it wasn’t until the last putt went in that I could properly show my emotions.”

After holing the winning putt, Hall was lifted off her feet by her dad Wayne, who was caddying for her.

“It was amazing to have him caddie for me and be there with me when I won,” she admitted. “It’s a really nice thing. He’s helped me with my golf and helped me as a person, as well, growing up.”