Local favorite Hall remains 1 back as Phatlum leads at Women's British Open

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Local favorite Hall remains 1 back as Phatlum leads at Women's British Open

LPGA Tour

Local favorite Hall remains 1 back as Phatlum leads at Women's British Open

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England – Golfers don’t often breathe a sigh of relief when they make a bogey, especially in major championships. That’s exactly what England’s Georgia Hall did when she made five on the par-4 13th hole in the third round of the $3 million Ricoh Women’s British Open.

The bogey ended Hall’s run of 48 holes without a blemish on her scorecard. It meant she could relax over the closing holes.

Hall thrilled the local galleries with a 3-under 69 to reach 12 under for 54 holes and hang on to playing companion Pornanong Phatlum, who also returned a 69. The 22-year-old from Bournemouth, England trails the Thai golfer by one shot. Korea’s So Yeon Ryu is a further shot behind in third place on 11 under after a 67.

Hall is trying to become the third British winner after Karen Stupples (2004) and Catriona Matthew (2009) since the Women’s British attained major status in 2001.

The Solheim Cup player found a fairway bunker at the 13th and had to lay up short of the green. Her third shot came up 20 feet short, and Hall two-putted to get a monkey off her back.

“When I got the bogey, I thought ‘right I’ve got it now’ because it was in my head,” Hall said. “It actually helped give me a bit of relief that it was over and I could just relax.”

Hall also bogeyed the tough 17th when she pulled her approach shot and didn’t get up and down. The partisan galleries on the 18th let loose their biggest cheer of the day when Hall’s 5-iron approach shot landed 15 feet from the pin and she drained the putt to ensure a tee time with Phatlum in the final round.

“It was one of the best shots I hit all day considering the situation.”

Hall looked like dropping shots at the fifth and seventh holes but holed good par putts to stay in the hunt.

“I didn’t make it easy for myself. But I was glad to hole the amount of putts I did considering I was nervous. It sets up well for me tomorrow.”

Phatlum’s place at the top of the $3 million Ricoh Women’s British Open has started one of golf’s more interesting trivia searches. The 28-year-old uses pink golf balls, leading to the obvious question: Has a player ever won a major using a colored golf ball?

The answer seems to be no, but Phatlum isn’t chasing down the $490,000 first-place prize for trivia buffs. Victory would make her the second Thai to join golf’s major club after Ariya Jutanugarn. It would also be her first LPGA win.

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