The 8 Best Women's Open Moments
The Women's Open was first played in 1976 and for over two decades became a hugely popular event on the calendar, crowning the likes of Dame Laura Davies, Betsy King, Patty Sheehan and Karrie Webb. But there is no question that the championship was elevated by its designated major status from the LPGA Tour in 2001, with many an unforgettable tale being told in the years since.
We take a look back at the past 20 years and identify just some of the moments that come to mind when we think of the Women's Open.
Annika Sorenstam (2003)
Royal Lytham & St Annes would be the stage for Sorenstam, the greatest player of her era, as the Swede shot a final round of 70 to finish one ahead of fellow icon Se-ri Pak. That star power is hard to resist. For Sorenstam, it was her sixth major title, and completed the grand slam under the new configuration of championships, established in 2001. Fellow major winners Grace Park, Karrie Webb and Patricia Meunier-Lebouc were also in contention.
Karen Stupples (2004)
Heading to Sunningdale, it would be time for a home favourite to claim the Women's Open again, with Karen Stupples producing arguably the greatest ever start to a round. On the final day, the English star began eagle, albatross on the first two holes, setting her on a march to a five-shot victory and major glory on home soil. It was the defining moment of her career.
Lorena Ochoa (2007)
It was a significant occasion for the Women's Open as it ventured to the Old Course at St Andrews for the first time, and it had a champion befitting that status. Mexico's Lorena Ochoa led wire-to-wire to claim her first major title, the highlight of a brilliant (and short) career that saw her total up 27 LPGA Tour victories. She retired aged just 28 in 2010.
Catriona Matthew (2009)
Back to Lytham, where Scotland's Catriona Matthew held her nerve to sensationally win the Women's Open just eleven weeks after giving birth to her second daughter, Sophie. The North Berwick star's triumph dominated the headlines as the wider public marvelled at the achievement. The Scot later went on to lead Europe to the most dramatic of victories at the Solheim Cup in 2019.
Mo Martin (2014)
Few would have expected the American to lift the trophy at Birkdale, especially against major winning company, but that's what happened after the most incredible of finishes, as the world number 99 made eagle on the 72nd hole to win by a shot ahead of Shanshan Feng, Suzann Pettersen and Inbee Park. That approach on the 18th will forever stand as one of the greatest played in championship history.
Georgia Hall (2018)
We had waited nearly a decade for another British winner, and it was Georgia Hall who overcame Pornanong Phatlum in a brilliant duel at Royal Lytham & St Annes. It was 22-year-old Hall's first win on either the LPGA or LET, but it represented an immensely proud moment for the entire family, particularly father Wayne who was on her bag during the week.
Hinako Shibuno (2019)
Woburn was the stage for a remarkable tale, as Japan's Hinako Shibuno - playing overseas for the first time - birdied the 72nd hole to finish one shot ahead of American Solheim Cup player Lizette Salas. Major winners Jin Young Ko and Morgan Pressel were also in contention on a thrilling final day, where Shibuno, who is known as the Smiling Cinderella, charmed the gallery with her personality and amazed them with the quality of her play.
Sophia Popov (2020)
2020's Women's Open at Royal Troon was unlike any other, without paying fans in attendance, but that didn't diminish the story or achievement of Germany's Sophia Popov, who shot weekend rounds of 67 and 68 to win by two. Ranked 304th in the world, the 27-year-old had only gained entry to the Open at the last minute after a high finish at the LPGA's Marathon Classic which came after winning three events on the Cactus Tour in Arizona. This seemingly unlikely major success was a life changer.
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