Georgia Hall wins Women’s British Open with dad’s socks

There was something in the air as Georgia Hall strode down the 18th fairway at the Women’s British Open with a three-shot lead over playing partner and nearest rival Pornanong Phatlum.

But it wasn’t the smell of victory, it was the stench of her dad’s four-day-old, unwashed socks.

After shooting an opening-round 67, Hall — a superstitious golfer, to say the least — ordered her father and caddie, Wayne, not to change or wash his socks for the rest of the Open.

“I’m quite superstitious and my dad is even worse, so he was like: ‘I’m going to keep them on. It’s going to be worth it, hopefully,'” the 22-year-old Hall told the BBC. “It was.

“They weren’t smelly after day one, but after four days … yeah, they were.”

Hall began day four one shot behind Phatlum, but a birdie on 16 and a double bogey from her Thai opponent on 17 handed Hall the advantage.

Standing on the 18th green, even a bogey couldn’t stop Hall from turning a dream into reality.

“It’s been my dream since I was seven to win this trophy,” she told the BBC. “The British Open, home crowd and to play in England in front of so many fans and spectators, it’s very special for me.

“When I was practicing with my dad or on my own at the golf club, I’d say: ‘Right, this is a six-footer to win the British Open and then I can go home.'”

Sunday’s victory was not only Hall’s first major, it was her first win of any kind of the LPGA Tour or Ladies European Tour.

She is just the second English winner of the Women’s British Open — after Karen Stupples in 2004 — since it became a major in 2001, and she becomes the first player to win the British Girls, British Ladies Amateur and British Women’s Open.

After finishing third in last year’s Open with her dad on the bag, Hall again asked him to help instead of her usual caddie, boyfriend Harry Tyrrell.

“Oh, Harry has known this was going to happen since March,” Hall told the Telegraph. “Dad’s caddied for me in this for the last four or five years — it is kind of our thing.

“And we played so well together last year that it’s right for him to be on the bag.

“Harry’s OK … he walked around with my mum instead and I could tell they were having secret chats about me.”

Hall also picked up a check for $490,000, a far cry from the days when her dad would sell his clubs so he could afford to send his daughter to golf tournaments.

WGC Invitational

Across the pond in Akron, Ohio, Justin Thomas put in an imperious performance to win the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational by four strokes to lay down a marker ahead of his defense of this week’s US PGA title, the year’s final major.

The world No. 2 recorded a solid final round of 69 as a number of rivals attempted to catch him, but ultimately all fell away.

Jason Day looked the most likely to challenge Thomas, at one point getting to within two shots, but a meltdown run of three bogeys and a double bogey in five holes on the back nine derailed his challenge.

Thomas, who missed the cut at the Open at Carnoustie, is full of confidence again after scoring his second title of the year.

“It feels awesome,” he told reporters Sunday. “I did not hit the ball as well today but we had so much control and I had a very clean card at the end.

“It is the first time I have cried after winning a tournament. It was pretty cool to have my grandma and grandad watching me.”

Fellow American Kyle Stanley finished second on 11 under, with Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen and world No.1 Dustin Johnson tied for third on 10 under.