England’s Georgia Hall hopes she can encourage more young girls to take up golf after winning the Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham St Annes.
The 22-year-old is only the third British winner since the event became a major championship in 2001.
Hall, who won by two shots at 17 under par, also hopes to help attract new sponsors to the Ladies European Tour.
“I couldn’t believe so many young girls and boys were watching me, wanting a picture or an autograph,” she said.
“Hopefully I can encourage a lot of young girls out there to take up the game. I want to be a good role model for young girls in Britain.”
Victory meant the 2013 British ladies’ amateur champion emulated compatriot Karen Stupples (2004) and Scot Catriona Matthew (2009), the other two British winners since this event became a major.
It also secured the Bournemouth-based golfer a £383,000 top prize, with Hall admitting she had previously missed majors because of the cost.
“I hope it will bring more sponsorship to the Ladies European Tour,” she told BBC Radio 5 live. “It’s definitely growing and I try to support them when I can. I’m still a member and it’s my home.
“I had to miss roughly three majors because I couldn’t afford to get there, which was frustrating as I’d qualified.
“As an amateur it was hard but I knew if I played well that could get me to these places.”
Trailing Pornanong Phatlum by a shot overnight, Hall moved clear of the Thai on Sunday with two holes remaining and held her nerve on the 18th to secure victory.
“I do get very excited and it’s because I want it so much,” she said. “I promised myself if I got in this position I wouldn’t get too carried away, focus on every shot and take one shot at a time.
“To go down 18 and manage to close it out fairly easily is a relief for me. Golf is a very mental sport, more than people even think. So it was kind of a battle.
“It’s my fourth years on tour as a professional and loads of people were asking ‘when is it going to come?’. I knew if I stayed patient and kept working hard I could win and it would come along.”
Hall also says she is just as superstitious as her father and caddie, Wayne, who refused to change his socks for four days.
“I am quite superstitious as well, I have to touch every golf club before I tee off to make sure there are 14,” she added.
“Silly things, I had to get my boyfriend to close the curtains every night. I set three alarms, check three times they’re on and my phone is on loud.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/golf/45081672