Johnson outlasted Marc Leishman and his good friend Louis Oosthuizen in a four hole playoff to win the 2015 British Open at St. Andrew’s.
The three players had a quick break before heading to the first to get the four-way play-off underway and the South African, along with Johnson, sank birdies while Leishman’s par putt lipped out and he recorded a bogey.
Oosthuizen was a runner-up for the second straight major.
After Jordan Spieth came one shot shy of making a play-off, Zach Johnson defeated Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman to win The Open.
Paul Dunne was not the only man to miss out on history at St Andrews last night as Jordan Spieth’s shot at golfing immortality went begging but for all the disappointments The Open Championship still managed to conjure up a very special conclusion.
Spieth was philosophical about his near miss for the title and the chance to keep his Grand Slam hopes alive.
So if he were to match the feat of Ben Hogan, who won the first three majors of the season back in 1953, how would he appraise such an epic undertaking?
Spieth was criticized heading into the tournament because he played the John Deere Classic in Illinois the week before, the thinking being that he didn’t give him himself enough time to learn the nuances of St. Andrews. “I had a lull on Friday and Saturday, but nothing significant, but stayed in it and waited for the opportunities and made a few”.
Johnson, who will move up from 25th in the world rankings, had earlier surged to the top of the leaderboard with seven birdies in his first 12 holes on Monday.
He hit his second shot into a deep bunker and, despite splashing out skilfully, a missed putt from five feet meant he signed for a five.
Zach Johnson, the 144th Open champion, Claret Jug in tow, was high-fiving spectators as they touched the oldest and most famous trophy in golf.
Leishman, who had also covered the front nine in 31 and birdied the 10th and 12th, briefly held a two-shot lead when Johnson bogeyed the 17th, his right foot slipping on his second shot as a rain shower passed through.
There was still plenty of drama ahead, however, and Spieth threatened a stunning fightback when he followed birdies at nine and 10 – after his nightmare on eight – by holing a monster putt on 16 to tie the lead.
“I feel like even if I do have a bad day I can still go home and hopefully give my wife a hug and cuddle my two boys”, said Leishman. I was really motivated to win this championship this week.
Oosthuizen, playing last, made the walk down the fabled 18th in a different mood than he had on the last day of his previous British Open here.
“Once I get inside the ropes, we’re just going to have our game plan and be ready to go”.
Johnson was the first to post at 15-under 273 with his 30-foot birdie putt.
He was asked what he would have thought 15 years ago if asked about a green jacket and a Claret Jug: “I would have said, ‘Whose am I trying on and whose am I touching?'”. I can not play any better than I did.
And right there with him for over a decade, including the win at Augusta National, in his caddie Damon Green.