Sophia Popov clinched a surprise victory at the British Open on Sunday, winning her first major by two shots.
Ranked 304th in the world, the 27-year-old German almost gave up the game having not won on either the LPGA Tour or Ladies European Tour. She sobbed with happiness as she held the trophy aloft at Royal Troon Golf Club in Troon, Scotland.
Besides the emotional victory, Popov went home with a $675,000 winners cheque after shooting three-under par 68.
“There has been a lot of struggle over the last six years and I was just glad I was able to overcome it,” she said after her win. “I almost quit playing last year, thank God I didn’t.”
Popov was leading going into the final day and held her nerve to hold off her nearest competition in Jasmine Suwannapura and Minjee Lee.
‘I was making so many good shots’
Besides competing during a pandemic, the golfers were tested to their very limits in Scotland this week with three consecutive days of storms.
However, conditions had settled as the German sunk her final putt.
“I used to always be the player that liked to not lead and come from a couple of positions behind,” said Popov, who caddied for a friend at a recent LPGA Tour event.
“Inside, I felt I was making so many good shots the last three days and I had this belief going into this round that no matter what happened today, I was always capable of making birdies. Kudos to my boyfriend for keeping me calm.”