AIG Women's Open: Sophia Popov wins first major with brilliant final round at Royal Troon
Last Updated: 24/08/20 6:05am
World No 304 Sophia Popov won her first major in stunning style as she stormed to victory at the AIG Women's Open at Royal Troon.
Leading by three shots overnight, Popov recovered from a bogey on the opening hole of her final round to shoot a three-under par 68.
She finished three shots clear of Jasmine Suwannapura and four clear of Minjee Lee, with Inbee Park the only other player to finish under par for the tournament.
"It feels amazing," said an emotional Popov, who lost her card on the LPGA Tour at the end of last year and only qualified for the Women's Open after securing a top-10 finish at the Marathon Classic two weeks ago.
"There's a lot of hard work behind it and a lot of struggles that I've been through over the last six years, especially health-wise.
"I am just glad I was able to overcome everything and keep my head in it, I knew I was capable, I just had a lot of obstacles thrown in my way. I am glad I stuck with it. I almost quit playing last year - thank God I didn't!"
Popov, who has suffered from chronic lower abdominal and stomach issues during her career, was caddying for her friend Anne van Dam at an LPGA tournament last month.
Heading into the final round of the Women's Open she admitted that she would be "super nervous".
Those nerves may have played a part in her dropping a shot on the opening hole.
But she settled herself with back-to-back birdies at two and three before another birdie at the par-five six kept her in front.
Lee and Suwannapura started the day as Popov's nearest rivals - both three shots back - and looked as though they might mount a challenge on the front nine.
Suwannapura made four birdies in a row from holes four to seven to close to one shot behind, while Lee stayed in touch with back-to-back birdies.
However, Suwannapura dropped shots on 11 and 13 and Popov held her nerve and pulled away with birdies on 15 and 16.
The German bogeyed the last hole but victory was already sealed and she couldn't back to the tears as she celebrated her success.
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