Brian Harman certainly didn’t play his best golf, but it definitely was good enough.
The 36-year-old Harman got off to a slow start for the second straight day before rallying to shoot one-under-par 70 and win the 151st Open Championship by six strokes over third-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain, Tom Kim of South Korea, Jason Day of Australia and Sepp Straka of Austria in the rain at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, Wirral, England.
Harman was claimed “Champion Golfer of the Year” and received the Claret Jug.
“I didn’t think about winning the tournament until I hit my bunker shot on the last hole,” said Harman, who claimed his fifth victory as a professional and first major title. “Now, it’s just overwhelming joy because this is the best golf tournament in the world and I am absolutely thrilled. I’ll never forget it.
“Sleeping on a five-shot lead isn’t easy and I made a couple early bogeys for the second straight day, but once again I just stayed patient and stuck with my game plan until I made a couple of birdie putts and just went from there. This is a great golf course and it’s difficult, but it was in tremendous shape and really held up despite the rain.
“I’m just thrilled to be the champion.”
Harman, whose last victory came in the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship, made bogeys on the second and fifth holes, but bounced back with birdies on Nos. 5 and 6, and after another bogey on the 13th hole, he made birdies on the next two en route to a winning score of 13-under-par 271.
Rahm, the reigning Masters champion who shot a course record 63 in round three, birdied the last hole for his own 70, while Day had three birdies on the front nine in a second straight 69, Kim eagled the third hole and added four birdies in a 67, and Straka made three birdies on the front nine in a 69.
“I played nicely, but hat’s off to Brian because he was just too good,” said Day, the 2015 PGA champion. “I hit some good shots, but just didn’t have enough chances on the back nine, in part because of the weather. This is the wettest day I’ve ever played golf on.”
Said Straka, who won the John Deere Classic earlier this month for his second PGA Tour victory: “I’m very happy with the way I played because I’ve struggled with links golf in the past and this time I played well, even though it was harder out there today because of the rain.”
Second-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who won the 2014 Open at Royal Liverpool, made three straight birdies on the front nine en route to a 68 and finished seven shots behind in a tie for sixth with Emiliano Grillo, of Argentina, who birdied three of the first five holes on the back nine in another 68.
Cameron Young, the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year last season, made his second birdie on the last hole to salvage a 73 and wound up eight back in a tie for eighth with Shubhankar Sharma of India, who collected 17 pars and a birdie in his 70.
Eighth-ranked Max Homa of Valencia and Cal made three birdies and one bogey in a 69 to finish nine strokes down in a tie for 10th with Matthew Jordan of England, who birdied two of the last four holes in a 70, and Tommy Fleetwood of England, who had two birdies and a triple-bogey 6 on the 17th hole in a 72.
Fifth-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway had three birdies on the back nine to salvage a 73 and tie for 13th, while sixth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State tied for 17th after making three bogeys on the front nine in a 70, and top-ranked Scottie Scheffler made birdies on three of the first five holes in his 67 and tied for 23rd.
Fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA made bogeys on the last two holes in a 73 and wound up in a tie for 33rd that included defending champion and seventh-ranked Cameron Smith of Australia, who made three bogeys on the front nine in another 73, and 10th-ranked Wyndham Clark, the reigning U.S. Open champion who had only two birdies in yet another 73, while ninth-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick of England made two double-bogeys on a 75 and tied for 41st.
For complete results, visit: https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard