Zach Johnson won the British Open on Monday, July 20, emerging victorious from a gripping 4-hole playoff against Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman.
Oosthuizen began the day tied for the lead on 12 under, and was the first player to get to 13 under with a birdie on his first hole.
Louis Oosthuizen became the third player in the modern era to finish runner-up in both the U.S. Open and British Open Championship in the same year, joining South African Ernie Els and retired American legend Jack Nicklaus.
“If I stood on 17th tee box and you told me I had that putt for par on the hole”, Spieth said later, “I would have certainly taken it”.
He had a chance from 20-feet to seal the win but missed before Oosthuizen, the 2010 champion at St Andrews, lipped out a 10-foot effort to extend the playoff.
Playing together with former Open champion Paul Lawrie of Scotland, Lahiri then fought back gallantly with four birdies on fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth holes for an outward 33.
But this was a day where Johnson shot a 66, and Marc Leishman matched him shot for shot.
“I was standing there reciting some scripture that I have in my book just to keep me in the moment and I was getting prepared for a tee shot on 18”, added Johnson, who won the Masters at Augusta National in 2007. Now he has two majors among his 12 PGA Tour victories. He said he was at a loss for words and didn’t like to see the tournament end on a miss, “But I am greatful and humbled”.
“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. “This is the birthplace of the game, and that jug means so much in sports”. “I just stayed in it, waited for the opportunities and made a few putts”.
It was the first British Open playoff since Stewart Cink beat Tom Watson at Turnberry in 2009, and the first involving more than two players since 2002 at Muirfield, the year Woods failed in his bid for the third leg of the slam. On 18, his attempt to save the hole with a long and challenging putt went just wide of the mark.
It all came down to the famous 18th hole with its historic town centre backdrop, and a par was enough for Johnson with Oosthuizen narrowly missing an eight-footer to force sudden death. “Whoever comes out the champion, that’s a hell of a major“.
Torrential rain on Friday and high winds on Saturday had seen to that.
A total of 14 players are within four shots of the lead. Forget the butter swing, forget the near back-to-back wins at St. Andrews and (please) forget the blown putt on the Road Hole in the playoff.
Scott bogeyed the final four holes to cough up a four-shot lead in 2012 and was also inside the top five in 2013 and 2014 without claiming victory. The 27-year-old Australian, who revealed he was suffering from vertigo after collapsing at the US Open, has now had six top 10s in his last 11 majors, including three runner-up spots. Faced with a relatively short putt, his ball swooped around the cup, prompting gasps in the large and loud gallery.
Dunne started bogey-bogey and closed with a 78.
Spieth will go to the PGA Championship in Wisconsin in a couple weeks, where he’ll be the favorite.
“You’ve just got to work hard and know that somebody’s got to be out here doing this, and there’s no reason it can’t be you”.