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Jordan Spieth's Superb Finish Earns Him the Open and Third Major

American golfer Jordan Spieth produced a magical streak over the last five and a half holes to claim the Claret Jug and come one more step closer to a Career Slam. The 23-year-old Texan, who won the Masters and the US Open in 2015, clinched his first Major in exactly two years and after eight Majors. That also put him in the company of the legendary Jack Nicklaus.

PTI

Updated:July 24, 2017, 12:11 PM IST
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Jordan Spieth's Superb Finish Earns Him the Open and Third Major
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Southport: American golfer Jordan Spieth produced a magical streak over the last five and a half holes to claim the Claret Jug and come one more step closer to a Career Slam. The 23-year-old Texan, who won the Masters and the US Open in 2015, clinched his first Major in exactly two years and after eight Majors. That also put him in the company of the legendary Jack Nicklaus, who had also won three legs of the Slam before the age of 24.

Spieth, who turns 24 on July 27, gave himself an early birthday present, and next month at the PGA Championships, he could well join the exclusive league of men, who have all four Majors.

Starting the day with a three-shot lead over fellow American Matt Kuchar, who turned 39 last month, but has never won a Major in 47 starts, Spieth seemed to melt with three bogeys in first four holes.

He lost the lead for the first time on the 13th, where he went 100 yards off the fairway, and took an unplayable. After taking more than 15 minutes, he hit a brilliant recovery shot that enabled him to get away with bogey. But after that he could not put a foot wrong or hit a shot bad. He had a near hole-in-one on 14th and duly got a birdie. He followed that up by reaching the green in two on Par-5 15th, where holed the eagle from 40 feet.

Even before the fans or Kuchar could catch their breath, he birdied the 16th and 17th. Kuchar, 15 years his senior, did his best to keep pace, but Spieth was playing unwordly golf.

From a one shot deficit after 13, Spieth went two ahead by the 17th tee. Kuchar also birdied the 17th to keep the gap at two, but then bogeyed the 18th as Spieth parred. Spieth ended at 12-under with rounds of 65-69-65-69 and Kuchar with 65-71-66-69 was nine-under.

China's 21-year-old Li Haotong, who earlier shot a seven-under 63 came out of nowhere to finish at six-under and sole third.

Rory McIlroy, closed a great weekend with an eagle on 17th and a round of 67 to finish at five-under 275 and in a tie for fourth with Rafa Cabrera-Bello (68).

Li Hao-tong equalled the lowest final round in Major history and earned a spot at The Masters next year after finishing third. The Open debutant fired a brilliant seven-under-par 63 thanks to a flawless card highlighted by four closing birdies. He totalled six-under-par 274 to finish six shots behind eventual winner Jordan Spieth of the United States at Royal Birkdale.

Li's effort matched only three other players' final round score — Jodie Mudd (1991), Payne Stewart (1993) and Henrik Stenson (2016).

This is the best ever finish by a golfer from China in a Major tournament. Liang Wen-chong previously finished tied eighth at the 2010 US PGA Championship.

However, Lu Liang-huan of Chinese Taipei or better known as Mr. Lu remains as the best Asian finisher at The Open with his runner-up result also at Royal Birkdale in 1971. Li's playing partner, Ernie Els of South Africa, who is a multiple Major champion, praised the young Chinese for his fearless approach.
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