It ended up USA verses Australia Verses South Africa in a 3 way play-off to decide the British Open Golf Championship. America’s Zach Johnson set the target with a birdie at the 18th hole to lead in the clubhouse at 15 under par. For much of the day many were in contention. Overnight leader Ireland’s Paul Dunne fell away and fellow Irishman Padrig Harrington and Spain’s Sergio Garcia sustained a challenge for longer but struggled on the back nine both three putted the tough 17th hole to end their challenge.
This left four other contenders along with Zach Jonhson. Jordon Speith looking for his third consecutive major was level with Johnson with two to play, Australian Mark Leishman also pulled level when he birdied the 16th and Jason Day and South African Louis Oosthiuzen, who won the Open five years ago the last time it was played at ST Andrew’s, were one shot back. Leishman made steady par at the final two holes to put himself in a play-off position with Johnson while Speith made a mistake at the 17th to make a bogey and he could not birdy the 18th, finishing a hot short of the leaders. His run of major wins was over despite having played some great golf yet again.
Jason Day put himself in position with an 12 foot put to draw level himself but he did not hit it quite hard enough and he had to settle for 14 under with Speith. The last to play was Oosthouizen who had brilliantly saved par on the 17th and played a great approach shot to the 18th to set up the birdy chance which he took to set up a 3 way play off with Johnson and Leishman.
The play off was to cover four holes, the 1st, 2nd, 17th and 18th. Oosthuizen and Johnson birdied the first while Leishman three putted for a five, leaving him with plenty to do. Johnson then birdied the second where Leishman and Oosthuizen both got par leaving Lieshman three shots behind and out of it. It was however the 17th which was key. Despite a couple of poor shots from Johnson, Oosthuizen missed a birdy chance and Johnson played a brilliant shot from the rough behind the hole to save par and despite mistakes be able to keep his one shot lead going into the 18th.
Oosthiuzen played the 18th well and set up a birdy chance while Johnson did hit the green in two but was a long way from the hole. Johnson putted first and although did not make the birdy set up a tap in for par, meaning Oosthiuzen had to hole his birdy chance to keep himself in it. The South African missed the put leaving Zach Johnson the winner of the claret jug after a thrilling final day. It is Johnson’s first major win for 10 years since he won the US Masters at Augusta
MOON OF LIBERTY SCOREBAORD
At The Old Course, ST Andrews, Scotland
The British Open Golf Championship (Defending Champion Rory McIlroy)
Zach Johnson (USA) -15 (4 hole play-off -1)
Louis Oosthuizen (S Africa) -15 (4 hole play-off E)
Mark Leishman (Australia) -15 (4 Hole Play-off +2)
Jordon Speith (USA) -14
Jason Day (Australia) -14
Zach Johnson wins the British Open Golf Championship