Spieth Gets First Claret Jug, Wins at Royal Birkdale

By Dan Bier
Monday July 24th, 2017 7:21 am EDT




 

Jordan Spieth fought off his major demons and rallied down the stretch with one of the most unbelievable final round performances you’ll ever see on his way to claiming his first Open Championship at Royal Birkdale on Sunday.The now three-time major winner made history by becoming the youngest American to win the Claret Jug and joins Jack Nicklaus as the only other player to win three legs of the career grand slam before the age of 24. 

Spieth began the day with a three-shot lead, but that quickly evaporated when he uncharacteristically made three bogeys in his first four holes and went out in 3-over par 37, bringing back memories of the 2016 Masters. That opened the door to the field in general, but more specifically Matt Kuchar, who found himself with the lead with five holes to play after Spieth made arguably the most insane bogeys in golf history

What came next was historic. Spieth nearly aced the par-3 14th, and his kick-in birdie got him back into a tie for the lead.


Next, he found the green in two on the par-5 15th and in typical Spieth fashion, he jarred a 55-footer for eagle to take the outright lead. In the heat of the celebration, Speith pointed to his caddie Michael Greller and told him to “go get that” ball out of the cup.

Spieth birdied the par-4 16th with another 25-foot bomb and added one more birdie for good measure on the par-5 17th. He parred the par-4 18th hole, meaning he played his closing five holes in 5-under par to win by three strokes.

In the end, the 2017 Champion Golfer of the Year posted a final round 1-under par 69 for a four day total of 268 for the three-stroke victory. He now has a chance complete the career grand slam at the PGA Championship in August.

“17 pars and a birdie would have been fine, too. But there’s a lot of roads to get there,” he said after the round. “But closing today was extremely important for the way I look at myself.”

 

Matt Kuchar put up a valiant effort firing a 1-under par 69 of his own, which in any other circumstance probably would have been enough to win. However, this was the 39-year-old’s best finish in a major.

Rising star Haotong Li from China finished solo third after posting just the 32nd 63 in major championship history. Tied for fourth was Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Rory McIlroy, who could only wonder what might have been if it wasn’t for his rough start on Thursday. 

Here’s a look at the final round highlights and results from the 146th Open Championship:

The next stop on the PGA Tour is the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey GC in Ontario, Canada

 

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