St Andrews (Scotland): Zach Johnson, who finished a full hour ahead of the final group in the 144th Open Championships, endured not just that wait but also went through a tense four-hole play-off before winning his second Major, eight years after the first at Masters in 2007.
US golfer Zach Johnson with the Claret Jug at the British Open golf championship at St Andrews in Scotland on Monday. Pic/AFP
Tied at 15-under with Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman through 72 holes, Johnson aggregated one-under for the four-hole play-off, while Oosthuizen was even par and Leishman was three-over.
"It sounds beautiful. It still sounds extremely surreal. The tone to it is very humbling. I feel blessed to be the champion and honoured to be part of the history of this game," Johnson said. Jordan Spieth, winner of the first two Majors in 2015, was tied fourth with Jason Day at 14-under, while four others including American amateur Jordan Niebrugge were tied sixth at 11-under.
In the wake of Johnson winning the Open, history was left hanging by a slender thread as Spieth bogeyed the 17th and then failed to birdie the 18th and failed to get into a play-off that could have given him a chance to become only the second man in history after Ben Hogan in 1953 to win the first three Majors in a calendar year.
Spieth unable to find a birdie from way down the slope on the 18th despite a heroic effort that stopped inches short, was left him one shot behind clubhouse leaders, Johnson and Leishman, who both shot 66 in the final round of an absorbing Open Championships, which only for the second time in its entre history since 1860 was extended to Monday.
Johnson starting the final day three shots behind the co-leaders, Oosthuizen and amateur Paul Dunne, shot a 66, which was marked by five birdies on front nine and seven in first 11 holes.
Born: February 24, 1976
Birthplace: Iowa City (USA)
Education: Drake University
Turned pro: 1998
Joined PGA Tour: 2004
PGA Tour Victories: 12
Major wins: 2 (2007 Masters, 2015 British Open)