Georgia Hall recovers from early round nerves to get in contention for Women's British Open

James Corrigan
The Telegraph
Georgia Hall of England makes a putt on the 2nd green during day three of the Ricoh Women's British Open - R&A
Georgia Hall of England makes a putt on the 2nd green during day three of the Ricoh Women's British Open - R&A

If this really was Georgia Hall’s “bad” round then the Ricoh Women’s British Open could well be hailing their first home winner in nine years at Royal Lytham and St Annes this evening. 

In contrast to the opening two days, when Hall seemed calmness personified, the 22-year-old from Bournemouth looked tense and this manifested itself in an attack of the “lefts”. Yet courtesy of three birdies in the last four holes, she battled her way around the unforgiving Lancashire links in a three-under 69. 

Scroll to continue with content

Hall may have lost her bogeyless mantle, the remarkable run coming to an end on the 49th hole, but, standing only one shot behind the Thai Pornanong Phatlum, her chances of going two better than last year are very much alive. The three on the par-four 18th seemed especially important. A beautiful approach to seven feet and then the nerveless putt lifted her into second place and not only ensured she would be in the final group for the second year running, but also afforded her so much confidence. 

“The front nine might look relaxed on the scorecard but it was very tough,” Hall said. “My timing was off. There must have been nerves in me because the first hole is 181 yards, I hit a five-iron and was 10 yards through. I never do that. My putter got me through the early stages and helped with the birdies later on.” 

Hall saved par on the first and then again walked off with a courageous par on the second. A birdie followed on the third, but again she was in rescue mode on the fourth and fifth. She birdied the par-five sixth, but appeared certain to record her first blemish of the week on the par-five seventh. However, with a putt which summed up her afternoon, she rolled in a 20-footer. 

<span>Hall reacts after a birdie on the 18th hole</span> <span>Credit: REUTERS </span>
Hall reacts after a birdie on the 18th hole Credit: REUTERS

Hall was hanging onto Phatlum, the world No 97 who is having the week of her life. The 28-year-old was operating at a different ball-striking level to her playing partner but golf is a crazy pursuit. Phatlum made her first bogey on the tournament on the 12th, but Hall followed suit on the 13th. She was three behind at this stage, but after yet another escape on the 14th, so Hall pressed. 

A two-foot birdie on the 15th, a 15-footer on the 16th and not even the bogey on the 17th – when pulling the approach left into the rough – could derail her charge. Hall then pulled off her grandstand moment, inspiring huge roars from the impressive galleries. 

“I can’t believe how many people were here,” she said. “I’ve never had that much support before. I hope they come out tomorrow as well, because I feel so many people willing me on that I try to hit good shots for them. 

“Hopefully, I’ll be more relaxed tomorrow. I just need to go out, play my game and stay in my own bubble. These rounds actually happen quite quickly, so I just need to tick each hole off and I’ll be fine.” 

<span>Georgia Hall of England plays into the 18th green</span> <span>Credit: GETTY IMAGES </span>
Georgia Hall of England plays into the 18th green Credit: GETTY IMAGES

A shot behind Hall is former world No 1 So Yeon Ryu, while on 10 under are world No 3 Sung Huyn Park, Japan’s Mamiko Higa and Australia’s Minjee Lee. It is a quality leaderboard with highly-rated Canadian Brookes Henderson on eight under and Kiwi Lydia Ko on seven under. 

However, it has been a mediocre week for the United States, who are in danger of not having a representative in the final top 10 for just the second time since the Americans deigned to recognise the Women’s British Open as a major 17 years ago. 

Their hopes rest on Mina Harigae, the world No 210, who is in a tie for seventh on eight under after a 67, while Brittany Altomare is in a tie for 13th after a 70. But their chances of winning look forlorn and that means they will have gone six majors without a champion and only one of the past 12 winners. 

The country which once dominated the female game – just as America rules the male fairways – came in with only one member of the world’s top 10 in this field in No 9 Jessica Korda. The Asian takeover is all but complete. Hall, however, has other ideas. 

What to Read Next