Georgia Hall was fast asleep at 1am when she received a congratulatory message from another Lytham Open winner, Tom Lehman.
The American thought she’d still be out celebrating but the sweet, sensible plasterer’s daughter doesn’t really do plastered.
Besides, the young need their beauty sleep. Here’s one startling statistic that not only underlines the magnitude of Hall’s achievement in winning the British Open on Sunday, but how young she actually is.
Georgia Hall embraces her father after winning the Women's British Open on Sunday
Not since the Scot Willie Anderson emigrated from North Berwick and won the US Open in 1901 has any British golfer won a major at an age as tender as 22.
There was also the fact she knew she had an alarm call at 5.30am for a round of interviews, as the nation learned more about the heartening story of the working-class girl who plastered her name all over the papers yesterday.
It really doesn’t get much better, a mirror image of the Tommy Fleetwood tale, in fact. Two kids who grew up in households where money was tight, but who have prospered on the strength of their talent, ice-cool temperament and level-headedness.
Ask Hall whether she plans to treat herself after landing a £390,000 jackpot, and she gives a Fleetwood-esque response. ‘I’ve not really thought about it, but I don’t think so,’ she told Sportsmail. ‘I have everything I need. I’ll probably treat my brother and sister.’
Thanks to her stunning two-shot victory, Hall has claimed the £390,000 jackpot
Here is Hall’s idea of a treat. Asked on Friday how she planned to spend time before her third round, she replied: ‘I think I’ll have my nails done.’
There weren’t many nails left unbitten around Lytham on Sunday, where Hall and her dad Wayne, who was her caddie, were two of the few to remain calm. Dad was under strict instructions not to show any emotion.
‘I learned a long time ago that if I get too excited I start hitting bad shots,’ said Georgia. ‘I wanted to keep my thoughts to myself and not get involved with the crowd.’
She couldn’t help it down the last, with the title all but won. Britain doesn’t produce many major winners but Tony Jacklin, Catriona Matthew and now Georgia have enjoyed that resplendent scene at Lytham.
‘I don’t think it’s a coincidence,’ said Hall. ‘It’s just a classic golf area, the fans really get into it, and I’m so appreciative of all the support I got.’
Hall shows off her trophy with (l-r) boyfriend Harry, dad Wayne and mum Samantha
More than 16,000 people, indeed, showed up on the final day as Hall carried out her Lehman blueprint. ‘I played golf with him a couple of weeks ago and he told me to play short of the bunkers, and make it a longer golf course,’ she said.
‘He said it was far better to play from the fairways even if the shots were longer, and his advice proved invaluable. The fact I only went in one fairway bunker all week was one of the keys to my win.’
As was her wondrous putting. ‘I think it might have been the best putting display I’ve ever seen,’ said Ken Brown, who was a heck of a putter himself.
Hall’s victory wasn’t all down to talent and clear thinking. There was, apparently, a bit of magic involved. For such a brilliant, uncluttered golfing mind, Hall’s list of superstitions makes bizarre reading.
Dad wasn’t allowed to change his socks, for example. Boyfriend Harry Tyrrell had to draw the curtains each night and switch out the light. Before every round, Hall had to touch each club and count them. Finally, she always — always — has to hole a 6ft putt before marching to the first tee.
Harry, who is usually her caddie, and Georgia drove to Scotland yesterday afternoon, where she will partner Laura Davies at the multi-sports European Championships, where the golf team event starts tomorrow. It finally gave her a chance to catch up on all the congratulatory messages, from the likes of Lehman, Justin Rose, Luke Donald and Annika Sorenstam.
There was also a tweet from Sir Nick Faldo, who shot a final round 67 in the 1996 Masters in Georgia to defeat Greg Norman.
Now, the girl named in honour of that success has a 67 of her own in the final round of a major to cherish; one that, like Faldo’s, will enter the annals as one of the greatest ever played by a British golfer.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
‘There will have been lots of boys and girls watching on television seeing a young girl at the top of her game. Hopefully, they’re going to say to their parents that they want a set of golf clubs.’
Dame Laura Davies, the grand matriarch of the women’s game, on her hopes that Georgia Hall’s sensational victory will prove inspirational.
Bellerive and the day the world changed
No one who was at Bellerive, St Louis, the last time they tried to stage a top tournament will forget it. On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, Tiger Woods had just finished a practice round for that week’s WGC event when he was approached by an official. ‘By the time we got in the clubhouse, unfortunately, we had the chance to see the second plane hit,’ said Woods, of the terrorist attack on New York’s World Trade Center.
I was halfway across the Atlantic when the pilot made the sort of announcement that really does chill the blood. ‘I need everyone to take their seats as I’ve a very important announcement,’ he said, before telling us what had happened, followed by the news we’d be heading for Canada.
Back at Bellerive and it soon became clear there would be no tournament. Tiger drove 1,200 miles home to Florida, where no one recognised him when he stopped. ‘I think for everyone life had just become a blur,’ he said.
A month later, the Ryder Cup was cancelled, and the golf calendar changed for ever when it moved to even-numbered years.
Bellerive, the venue for this week’s 100th USPGA Championship, will mark another change, for this will be the last PGA staged in August, before it moves to May.