Sophia Popov lands historic victory at AIG Women's British Open

Popov pulls off one of the biggest shocks in major championship history...

Andy Roberts's picture
Mon, 24 Aug 2020
Sophia Popov lands historic victory at AIG Women's British Open

Germany’s Sophia Popov made history with a life-changing two-stroke victory at the AIG Women’s Open at Royal Troon, closing with a magnificent final round of 3-under 68 to finish at 7-under-par and claim the $675,000 first place prize.

Looking unfazed throughout, Popov, who lead by three strokes overnight, came into the week ranked 304 on the Rolex Rankings and becomes the first German to win a women’s major championship and the highest ranked player to capture the historic championship.

 

 

Popov now joins an illustrious list of champions including Georgia Hall, Annika Sorenstam and Catriona Matthew.

"It is an incredible story, something I could not dream of a week ago," said Popov.

"It is incredible that golf allows these things to happen and as one of 144 players this week, I just happened to have the week of my life. It is probably the best golf I have ever played."

Three weeks ago the 27-year-old could never have dreamt of this moment as she played the role of caddie at the LPGA Drive On Championship for best friend Anne Van Dam and only qualified for this championship courtesy of a tied ninth a week later.

A tied second in Arizona last week on the Symetra Tour gave her some confidence but no one predicted this, least of all Popov.

She said: "Everyone said, how are you playing in Phoenix the week before The Open? I said, you know, my focus this year was still the Symetra Tour and that was more important to me as far as the Money List goes, and I said, I'm going to stick with the schedule that I had.

"The AIG Women’s Open to me was a bonus and I got here on Tuesday, and I said I know my game is in really good shape and anything's possible and I think I took that belief with me to every round but I never expected this."

 

 

Popov, who has he boyfriend on the bag, stumbled early with a bogey but then resumed control of the tournament on the back nine with birdies at 15 and 16.

Holding back the tears on the 18th green, Popov defied the odds and triumphed against a world-class international field and, despite a closing bogey, was overwhelmed when her fellow professionals stormed the green with champagne.  

"I’m glad I didn’t think about the prize money going down the 18th hole but I was a lot calmer than I thought I would be throughout the day. When I hit the green on the 17th, that is where the tension came in."

Thailand’s Suwannapura recorded her highest major finish, ending the tournament in solo second after a round of 4-under 67 followed closely in third by Australia’s Minjee Lee, who closed with a 2-under 69. 

Seven-time major winner and former AIG Women’s Open champion down the road at Turnberry, Inbee Park was a further two stroke back in solo fourth and threatened to play a bigger role in the early afternoon with five birdies on the front nine.

Unable to replicate that form on the back nine, Park made two further birdies and bogey on the 12th to shoot a final round 5-under 66.

Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen increased her lead in the Race to Costa Del Sol rankings with a T11 finish, she is more than 75 points ahead of her nearest rival, Azahara Munoz, who jumped up from fourth place, courtesy of a T39 finish.  

Spoils as the top Brit were shared between Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow and Englishwomen Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Mel Reid who finished tied 39th.

NEXT PAGE: MEL REID TALKS EXCLUSIVELY TO GOLFMAGIC