Mo Martin hit the best shot of her life, and it made her a major champion Sunday in the Women's British Open.
Martin, a 2005 graduate of UCLA who played on the Bruins' 2004 national championship team, hit a three-wood that hit the pin on the par-five closing hole at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England, settling six feet away from the cup to set up an eagle.
An hour later, that turned out to be the winner when Inbee Park and Shanshan Feng couldn't stay under par.
“I think I still need to be pinched,” Martin said.
Martin closed with an even-par 72 on such a windy afternoon that no one managed to break par in the final round. The 31-year-old American was the only player to finish under par for 72 holes at one-under 287.
Park and Feng each had a chance to force a playoff, but neither could birdie the 17th and 18th holes, both par-five holes. Martin eventually finished with a one-shot victory over Feng and Suzann Pettersen.
Martin, who grew up in Altadena, began playing golf at 5. She had never won on the LPGA Tour, which she joined full time in 2012. She had three victories on the Futures Tour.
Martin went to Sierra Madre Alverno High, which didn't have a girls' golf team. She graduated from UCLA in 2005 with a degree in psychology.
But Martin, at 5-foot-2 one of the shortest hitters on the women's tour, made the biggest shot of her life for her greatest win.
“An absolutely perfect three-wood,” she said. “When it was in the air, I said, `Sit.’ And then I said, `Stop.’ And then when it was going toward the hole, I said, `OK, I don't have anything more to say to that ball.’ I actually heard it hit the pin. It's definitely one to remember.”