Near-albatross sets up major win for Mo Martin

Mo Martin
USA Today Sports Images
On Sunday at Royal Birkdale, American Mo Martin hit the shot of her life to set up the biggest victory of her life -- a major no less -- the Ricoh Women's British Open.
By T.J. Auclair
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Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Monday, July 14, 2014 | 8:34 a.m.

Close it out in style.

That's an adage we often hear in sports. On Sunday at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England, in the final round of the Ricoh Women's British Open, that's precisely what 31-year-old American Mo Martin did.

Martin, who has spent most of her professional life grinding on mini tours, hit a 3-wood from just under 240 yards on the par-5 18th hole at Royal Birkdale and watched it roll and roll toward the flag.

The ball crashed into the pin -- dead center, nearly an albatross -- and settled about six feet away setting up an eagle putt.

Martin made the ensuing eagle putt and had to wait an hour to see if her 1-under 287 total would hold up for her first major championship win.

It did.

Martin is a remarkable story. In 63 previous tries, she'd never won on the LPGA Tour. Now, that maiden victory made her a major champion.

"It's still soaking in, along with champagne in my jacket," Martin told reporters. "This is just unbelievable. It's literally a dream come true."

Martin's shot reminded us of another gem from a fellow unlikely winner -- Shaun Micheel's 7-iron approach from 174 yards on the par-4 18th hole at Oak Hill in the final round of the 2003 PGA Championship that came to rest just inches from the hole to put an exclamation point on the win.

Here's that shot from Micheel:

Martin's win at Royal Birkdale made it the first time since 1999 on the LPGA Tour that Americans have won the first three majors of the season. Martin followed Lexi Thompson at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and Michelle Wie at the U.S. Women's Open. 

T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.