Jordan Spieth Wins The 2017 Open Championship
Jordan Spieth won his third major championship at Royal Birkdale today but it didn’t come easy.
The 23 year old Spieth had a three shot lead going in to the final round, only to see it vanish after four bogeys on the front nine. It looked like a different Spieth than we saw in the third round when he made putts from all over the greens for a 65.
Then, he looked certain to lose the Open Championship when his tee shot on the par-4 13th was some 75 yards right of the fairway, buried in grass on a dune so steep he could barely stand up.
He took a penalty shot for an unplayable lie. While talking to a rules official he realized the practice range was in play, headed back on a line so far that he was behind several equipment trucks. He had a blind shot over the dunes to a fairway with pot bunkers, stopping just short of one of them near the green. Spieth made perhaps the best bogey of his career and that’s when he woke up. Spieth told the media after his round how he turned his closing holes around:
“I was walking off the green and Michael said, “Hey,” he held me up, and he said, “That’s a momentum shift right there.” And he was dead on. And all I needed to do was believe that. I was starting to feel it, but when he was feeling it and he was saying, “That was a momentum shift, even though you lost the hole, you went one down.”
Spieth describes when he felt he could win the Open Championship on the back nine:
“I went to the next hole and Matt hit one to what was a par range, and I had a good number, I had a 6-iron, 199 or something, with the wind a little down off the right. And I could hit it, a hold 6-iron and I hit a laser, and I knew I could swing smooth, didn’t have to try to do too much to it. If I held it out, I was going to be on the green. If I hit a stock shot, I was going to be on the green. It was a good number for me to have at that moment. And it almost went in. When that putt went in was my first vocal appreciation of the day. And I knew that this was — we had momentum on our side and we were tied. And all of a sudden I felt and believed that I could win that golf tournament, when 30 minutes prior and really the entire day after the 4th hole I didn’t feel that way”, said Spieth
Spieth played the final five holes in 5 under (birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie, par) and closed with a 1-under 69 for a three-shot victory over Matt Kuchar. Haotong Li finished 3rd after a final round 63.
Kuchar told the media the loss was hard to take.
“It’s hard to explain. It’s crushing. It hurts. And it’s an excitement and a thrill to have played well, put up a battle, put up a fight”, said Kuchar
“You work so hard to get to this position. And to have a chance to make history and win a championship. You don’t get that many opportunities. And to be this close, to taste it with five holes to go, it’s a hard one to sit back and take.”
The win gives Speith the third leg of the career Grand Slam and a chance to be the youngest to win them all next month at the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow CC in Charlotte.
Spieth joined Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win three different majors at age 23, and Nicklaus was impressed.
— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) July 23, 2017
Tiger Woods also congratulated Spieth via Twitter.
What an incredible way to comeback and win. Many congrats @JordanSpieth
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) July 23, 2017
With the victory, Speith, the 2015 FedExCup champion collects 600 points and moves from No. 4 to No. 1 in the current FedExCup standings, taking over the top spot from Dustin Johnson.
The Open Championship marked the first time Spieth (65-69-65-69) has posted four rounds in the 60s in a major championship. By doing so, he becomes the fifth player to win The Open with four rounds in the 60s, joining Greg Norman (1983), Nick Price (1994), Tiger Woods (2000), Henrik Stenson (2016).
Spieth is now nine of 14 when carrying the 54-hole lead/co-lead into the final round on the PGA TOUR, including nine of his last 10 attempts.