English golf is as strong as ever. The country currently boasts a number of top players in a rich vein of form. Major champion Justin Rose sits in third place on the Official World Golf Ranking, as well as holding the Olympic Gold Medal, Tommy Fleetwood won the 2017 Race to Dubai while four Englishman currently occupy the top eight automatic Ryder Cup spots.
The boom in the English game continued last weekend in emphatic style, with the country providing three winners across different Tours. The biggest of them was Georgia Hall as she sealed her first Major title at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes courtesy of a two-shot triumph over Pornanong Phatlum. The 22-year-old started the final day one behind the two-time LET winner but took control after Phatlum made double-bogey on the 17th. Hall bogeyed the last – the only blemish on her card – but it was enough to seal victory in front of packed crowds at the eleven-time Open Championship venue.
“It is too good to be true,” said Hall after winning her first LPGA Tour event. “It was my goal when I was nine to win the British Open. I am so happy. I just had to stay calm and patient. It was very close up to the last two holes and I holed all the putts today. I was loving it deep down, hitting the shots under pressure. To get six birdies in the final round of a major is not bad.”
Meanwhile, Philip Golding equalled the course record at London Golf Club as he produced a stunning final round charge to pick up his third Staysure Tour title from six shots back at the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship.
Golding started his surge with four birdies in his first five holes, before he gained another shot on the seventh hole to make the turn in 31 strokes, five under par. The 2017 Travis Perkins Masters winner began the day five groups ahead of the overnight leaders Santiago Luna and Greg Turner, and after the turn he continued to apply the pressure as the duo faltered in the heat. A further four birdies saw Golding join Luna at the top of the leaderboard, before the Spaniard made three bogeys in four holes on his back nine to leave the Englishman two shots clear.
Even with a dropped shot on the 16th Golding remained in control and gave himself the chance for victory as he birdied the last after his 20-foot eagle putt failed to drop for a new course record.
With the following groups unable to reach the 18 under par target, Golding was crowned Staysure PGA Seniors Championship champion, and added his name to the illustrious list of Championship winners.
“It’s an honour to win the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship,” he said. “It’s the 60th anniversary of this event, so I’m privileged to win this trophy and be associated with the PGA Seniors title and its past champions. I never thought I’d win when I teed off this morning as I was six shots behind. I started well by birdieing the first two and then was five under after seven.”
Oliver Wilson completed the hat-trick for English golf after overcoming Road to Ras Al Khaimah No.1 Joachim B. Hansen in a dramatic two-hole play-off to win the Swedish Challenge hosted by Robert Karlsson with the pair tied on 13 under par after 72 holes at Katrineholms Golfklubb.
Hansen looked to have secured his third win of the European Challenge Tour season as he approached the final green but three-putted for a bogey while Wilson safely converted a par to ensure the destination of the Swedish Challenge trophy would be decided by extra holes. With both Wilson and Hansen recording pars on the first extra hole, Wilson held his nerve on the second as he played an intelligent approach shot from the rough to the edge of the green before successfully two-putting for par to secure a first victory in four years.
“I’m absolutely delighted, I really am,”said Wilson, who was part of the European 2008 Ryder Cup team. “It was hard. The last few years have been hard and I battled well today. I didn’t have my A game, for sure, but I got off to a good start and it was a good battle between me and JB.
“I was delighted to get a putt on the last to tie with JB because I’ve holed nothing today. Just to get the job done, it means a lot. There’s a long way to go on my journey but this is definitely a big step in the right direction.”