Popov aims to defend 'life changing' Women's British Open title

Carnoustie (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


Sophia Popov was a little known rank outsider when she arrived at the Women's British Open last year, but 12 months later the German returns as the defending champion.

Popov lines up for the final major of the season at Carnoustie having to cope with a great deal more attention than last year before she tees off on Thursday.

Ranked 304 at the start of the 2020 Open, she arrives back in Scotland at number 28 after building on the life-changing triumph at Royal Troon.

"I am very excited," said the 28-year-old. "This week last year changed my life. It's been amazing so far.

"From the moment I saw my allocated space in the parking lot and seeing my face on the posters.

"It's bringing back so many memories and I am determined to enjoy every minute."

Popov has followed up her Troon win with a number of high finishes and has already booked her Solheim Cup place for the match against the USA next month.

"It's great. I feel I have earned my place in the team and it promises to be a fantastic week. I've had a lot of chats with (European Captain) Catriona Matthew and she has been so helpful," she said.

Having won the Open under coronavirus restrictions, Popov is delighted to have the chance to perform in front of a crowd this time.

"I am almost as pleased for them as I am for me," she said.

She is also enjoying the attention from her fellow players.

"It's quite funny. There is a TV loop of last year's Championship in the players' room. Everyone must be sick of seeing me," she said.

"I am usually a pretty humble person and I stay out of the limelight. But I know I can't this week so I'm just going to lap it all up."