Sophia Popov, Ranked 304th, Wins Women’s British Open

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TROON, Scotland — The first professional victory of Sophia Popov’s career came at a major championship on Sunday when she won the Women’s British Open at Royal Troon.

Popov, a 304th-ranked German, recovered from a bogey on the first hole by making five birdies for a three-under 68 in the final round, leaving her seven under par over all and two strokes clear of Jasmine Suwannapura of Thailand, who shot 67.

Wiping tears from her eyes, Popov tapped in a bogey putt on the last hole to complete one of the most unlikely wins in tournament history.

She lost her card on the L.P.G.A. Tour at the end of last year and only qualified for the British Open after a top-10 finish two weeks ago at the Marathon Classic in Ohio, which she was playing only because higher-ranked players could not attend because of Covid-19 restrictions.

It was Popov’s fourth appearance in a major.

The winner’s check of $675,000 is more than six times her entire career earnings before Sunday. And just three weeks ago, Popov was ranked No. 390 and pushing a trolley for her friend Anne van Dam at the Drive On Championship in the L.P.G.A.’s restart.

She did not play like a massive outsider at this event, especially not on Sunday. Starting out with a three-stroke lead, she drove into a bunker on No. 1 and pushed a 10-foot par putt right. She barely made a mistake after that.

Popov pumped her fist after rolling in a birdie putt from 8 feet at the second hole, then made another from a similar distance at No. 3.

Suwannapura, who would also have been an improbable winner with a ranking of No. 138, made four consecutive birdies from No. 4 to move within one stroke of the lead, but it was the closest she came.

Birdies by Popov at Nos. 15 and 16 were greeted with furious fist pumps and left her on the brink. She held her nerve on the final two holes, parring No. 17 and then playing No. 18 cautiously to leave herself three putts to be champion.

After rolling a par putt within a feet of the cup, she marked her ball and started to cry. Within a minute, she had become the first female player from Germany to win a major title.

It was the second straight upset win at the Women’s British Open. Last year, the 20-year-old Japanese player Hinako Shibuno triumphed when playing her first event outside Japan.

This was the first women’s major of the pandemic-disrupted year. It was played without spectators at Troon because of coronavirus restrictions.

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