By Alex Myers
One of the most surprising winners in major championship history did it by authoring one of the most remarkable clutch shots ever.
Mo Martin nearly made the sport's first known walk-off albatross. But she happily settled for a rare walk-off eagle to capture the Ricoh Women's British Open in stunning fashion.
Playing more than an hour ahead of the final groups, Martin reached the par-5 18th hole at Royal Birkdale trailing by two shots. But after a good drive, her 3-wood from about 240 yards away found the green and clanged off the flagstick to about six feet, setting up an eagle and a 72 that matched the low score of a difficult final round.
Martin's score of one under for the tournament held up as neither Inbee Park, Shanshan Feng, or Suzann Pettersen could catch her on Birkdale's closing stretch. Park and Feng had the best chances, but neither could birdie either 17 or 18, both par 5s. Yahoo!'s Shane Bacon captured the end of the remarkable shot that nearly went in:
While she waited to learn her fate, Martin described the shot on ESPN:
"This was a full 3-wood. I was off a little bit of a left-to-right lie, which let it feed. At this point, I'm saying 'sit.' And then I said 'go.' And then I said 'I don't know what else to say.' And then I actually heard it hit the flag and that's when I just said, 'Oh, my god,'" she said before bursting into laughter.
Here's the full footage:
The short-hitting Martin, a three-time winner on the Symetra Tour, picked the perfect time to make her first eagle of year. Before this week, the 31-year-old had never even had a share of the lead after any round of an LPGA event and her best previous finish at a major was a T-29 at this year's Kraft Nabisco.
Martin joined Lexi Thompson (Kraft Nabisco) and Michelle Wie as major winners this season. It's the first time since 1999 that Americans have won three straight majors in women's golf.
"Is this real life?" Martin wondered when informed she had won.
She'll have an incredible highlight to remind her that it is for the rest of her life.