Stunning Spieth revival seals Open glory at Birkdale

Justin Rose

GETTY Justin Rose was surprised by the size of the crowds

Spieth had lost his three-shot overnight lead after four holes of the final round, in scenes reminiscent of his infamous Masters meltdown of 2016. The only other player to achieve that feat was 18-time major victor Jack Nicklaus. His caddie Zack Rasego wisely chose to stay quiet until Grace putted out for par on the 18th.

Forty six years ago on this same sprawl of Birkdale duneland, Taiwan's colourful, charismatic Lu Liang Huan, known affectionately as the aforementioned Mr Lu, delighted the galleries of Birkdale with his cap-doffing exploits as he finished second behind Lee Trevino in the 1971 championship. "It took a bogey to do so", he said of his efforts at the par-four 13th. First man out Shaun Norris from South Africa, playing with a marker, matched the course record with a flawless 65. "So I'm happy that's coming quite quickly on the back of this", he said.

An unbelievable total of 45 rounds in red figures were fired on Saturday, just seven golfers came home in red numbers.

Ernie Els, the two-time Open champion, who partnered Li during the final round was mightily impressed by the exhibition he had witnessed at close hand. He was then as he remains now, short-haired, fresh-faced, ...

Spieth's tee shot at the 13th was truly horrific, finding an awul spot high up on a dune miles to the right.

"It's completely different than any tournament we play in the United States, and just kind of soaked it in for a second, said, 'This is pretty cool to be here walking up the last hole of a British Open.' And it was just a neat moment", Kuchar said. After the eight-foot bogey putt Spieth would call "massive", "I was walking off the green", Spieth said, "and Michael said, 'Hey, ' and he held me up, and he said, 'That's a momentum shift right there'".

"Seventeen pars and a birdie would have been fine, too", Spieth said, the silver claret jug at his side.

Take your pick. They're all in play after one of the most remarkable stretches of golf anyone will ever see gave Spieth a British Open title, and a place that will long live in golf lore.

Spieth did not deny that crossed his mind when he got in trouble at the 13th hole, but his inner ruthlessness and clear-eyed appreciation of his options enabled him to turn potential disaster into a platform for success. Matsuyama used his prodigious power to find his way out of the hay that his occasionally errant tee balls found.

Despite his dominance this weekend, it's something that follows him whenever he's in contention.

Kuchar made par on the hole to stay 8 under. However, the 23-year-old rallied, tallying three birdies and an eagle over the final five holes. "Once that bunker shot didn't go in, I knew it was over". Johnson never really gave himself a look at a birdie.

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