German Sophia Popov romped off with the British Women’s Open crown by two strokes over Thai Jasmine Suwannapura after a 68 at Royal Troon in Scotland Sunday.
Popov, who took control by three after a wild first two days with a fiery bogey-free, eagle-aided third round 67, warded off her rivals’ threats with clutch birdies, including a pair of back-to-back feats from Nos. 2 and 15, to claim the victory on a 277 aggregate.
She pocketed a whopping $675,000 and became the first German to win a women’s major championship, joining men’s champions Bernhard Langer and Martin Kaymer.
The Philippines'Dottie Ardina, who like Popov gained a spot in the LPGA Tour’s first major championship this year with a strong finish in the Marathon LPGA Classic in Ohio, matched par 71, her best in four days after 78, 73 and 76. But she could only turn in a tied for 64th effort at 298 worth $8,217.
Like in the second round, Ardina birdied two of the first five holes but like the rest of the week, she struggled midway through even with less wind for the second straight day. She double-bogeyed the par-3 No. 8, then traded birdies on Nos. 13 and 17 with bogeys on Nos. 10 and 15 for a 36-35.
The elite field, including Ardina, heads back to Arkansas for the next LPGA event – the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship – on Aug. 28-30 where they will be joined by tour rookie Bianca Pagdanganan and US-based Clariss Guce.
The Open victory likewise netted the 27-year-old Popov, a seven-year pro who has only won a tournament on the Cactus Tour and never finished an LPGA season inside the top 100, a regular LPGA membership.
A number of players actually tried to chase Popov, including Suwannapura, who rattled off four straight birdies from No. 4 to pull within one and added two more at the back but got no closer. She closed out with a 67 for a 279.
Aussie Minjee Lee likewise moved into contention with three birdies after 16 holes but bogeyed the last for a 69, ending up third at 281 while former world No. 1 Inbee Park of Korea also came through with four consecutive birdies from No. 5 then struck back from a bogey mishap on No. 12 with birdies on Nos. 13 and 17. But she ran out of holes and finished with a tournament-best 66 for fourth at 283.