Women & # 039; s Open: Sophia Popov wins at Royal Throne with two shots

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Sophia Popov is the first German to win a big ladies

World number 304 Sophia Popov caused a huge shock by winning the AIG Women & # 39; s Open with two shots at Royal Troon.

The 27-year-old German, who had not won on the LPGA or Ladies European Tour for this week, shot a three-under 68 and won her first major at seven under.

Jasmine Suwannapura of Thailand shot a 67 and finished five under, two ahead of the world's number eight Minjee Lee (69).

Seven-time winner Inbee Park was the only other player to finish below par after a 66 saw her finish below par.

It was a stunning victory for Popov, who said she "almost stopped playing last year" as she rocked the trophy and sobbed tears of joy. "I'm so glad I didn't," she added before tears took over again.

Her only other professional victory was previously at Troon North, Arizona on the Satellite Cactus Tour. this year.

She only qualified for the Women & # 39; s Open two weeks ago with a top-10 finish at the Marathon Classic and last week she played on the Symetra Tour, the feeder circuit for the LPGA Tour.

She was also caddying for Dutch girlfriend Anne van Dam at a recent LPGA Tour event.

Starting this week, she had only made $ 108,000 (£ 82,500) in her career, but her Ayrshire win improved that total, and the winner's prize earned her $ 675,000 ( £ 515,500).

Popov started the final round with a three-shot lead and immediately dropped one shot after pulling her opening drive into a fairway bunker.

But in favorable conditions on the west coast of Scotland after three days of storms and gale-force winds made scoring difficult, Popov found her rhythm with birdies on the next two holes and a third of the day on the sixth.

The threat came from world number 138 Suwannapura, who had a series of four consecutive birdies from the fourth when she closed the lead to one shot from the seventh, but bogeys on the 11th and 13th hole returned the advantage to Popov.

The Thai player birdie on the 15th and 16th, but Popov, who played in the group behind, responded with the same to set up a procession. finish that even gave her the luxury of a bogey in the end.

Even that came after a wise decision to put the left greenside bunker in the front instead of chipping it. In fact, Popov's only real mistake of the day was trying to enter the judges' hut without wearing a face mask.

She turned with a big grin on her face, then told an official, who offered her one: "I want to buy the whole box!"

Australian Lee was expected to present the greatest challenge given her lofty world rankings, but she was unable to rely on birdies on the fifth and sixth holes.

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