LONDON — American Lilia Vu left English hope and fellow overnight leader Charley Hull trailing in the dust as she won the Women’s British golf Open by six strokes to lift her second major and pocket a record winner’s cheque of $1.35 million.
Vu sank six birdies which were offset by a bogey on the 15th but she was well in control as she finished at 14-under overall to win at the Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey, England four months after claiming the Chevron Championship.
“It sounds almost unreal,” Vu said according to Reuters. “It just comes down to not thinking about winning, playing one shot at a time. This golf course really forces you to do that, it really tests you. That was my only goal.
“I was not calm inside, trust me. Just to be here today, I can’t thank my family enough for believing in me.”
By the time both golfers reached the 18th, Vu had a comfortable lead and easily found the fairway and green to finish with a birdie while Hull made par with a long putt despite initially finding the bunker.
The 25-year-old Vu was barely given enough time to take in the moment amid applause before she was soaked in champagne by her friends, who promptly emptied the bottle over her head.
Hull had raised hopes of a first home winner since Georgia Hall’s victory in 2018 when she signed for 68 but an eagle on the 11th was not enough as she made four bogeys and just one birdie to finish with a final round of 73.
Vu praised the Briton’s performance, saying: “I love playing with Charley. She’s so fun to watch. I remember even yesterday looking back at her crowd and really wanting to play with her today.
“She’s so great, so nice and a really great golfer – you guys watch out for her!”
South Korea’s Jiyai Shin was a further shot back in third, while her compatriots Kim Hyo-joo (74) and Amy Yang (70) shared fourth spot on six under par.
World number one Nelly Korda finished tied-11th, with Frenchwoman Celine Boutier, who won the Women’s Scottish Open and Evian Championship in recent weeks, carding an error-free round of 68 to finish on one under par.
Hull was unable to kickstart her challenge until a brilliant eagle at the 11th. That took her to within two shots of Vu, but two more dropped shots at the 15th and 17th scuppered her hopes.
The 27-year-old finished with a flurry, saving par at the 18th with a monster putt having hit from the rough into a bunker, but Vu sealed a comfortable win with another birdie.
The joint-leaders started the final round one shot clear of the American Angel Yin and South Korea’s Kim Hyo-joo, but the former world No 1 and two-time Open winner Jiyai Shin sealed third place with a final round of 70.
Shin finished one shot clear of her fellow South Koreans Amy Yang (70) and Kim (74), while the American trio Allisen Corpuz, Ally Ewing – who had led by five shots after the second round – and Yin were tied in sixth place.
Hull paid the price for two dropped shots on the 4th and 5th, finding herself three shots adrift of Vu, who had birdied the 2nd, heading into the 5th.
Vu’s lead was cut to two shots when Hull produced a superb eagle at the par-five 11th, holing from the greenside sand before shrieking in celebration and stumbling on her way out of the bunker, but the 25-year-old Californian showed nerves of steel and responded with a birdie at the 12th.