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Home » Sport » Golf

Johnson clinches Open title

Zach Johnson claimed victory at the 144th Open Championship on Monday following a three-way playoff at St Andrews. 

The 39-year-old American added to the Masters title he won eight years ago after winning a four-hole play-off with a par at the 18th after birdieing the first and second holes to defeat Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman.

Johnson had set the clubhouse target on 15 under after a closing 66 that was matched 40 minutes later by Leishman, whose total of 130 for the third and fourth rounds - he carded a flawless 64 on Sunday - equalled the lowest 36-hole total in major history.

Oosthuizen, who won the 2010 Open at St Andrews, still had two holes to play and after a crucial par save on the 17th the South African birdied the 18th from five feet to make it a three-way aggregate play-off on the first, second, 17th and 18th - the first time the Open had headed to a play-off since Stewart Cink defeated Tom Watson at Turnberry in 2009.

Johnson and Oosthuizen both birdied the first as Leishman three-putted from long range and Johnson edged ahead with another birdie on the second.

All three players bogeyed the 17th and after Johnson missed his birdie attempt on the 18th, Oosthuizen's attempt from 12 feet also missed to give Johnson his second major title, after his 2007 Masters success.

An emotional Johnson said: "I feel blessed to be the champion, I feel honoured to part of the history of this game and to don my name on that trophy, especially with the names before me. Humbling and surreal are two words that come to mind.

"I can't play any better than what I did. I had a lull on Friday and Saturday, but nothing significant, but stayed in it and waited for the opportunities and made a few."

Meanwhile, Jordan Spieth's bid for an unprecedented golfing Grand Slam ended in agonising fashion.

The 21-year-old American, who was seeking to become the first man to land the year's first three majors since compatriot Ben Hogan in 1953, needed a birdie on the 18th hole to join the four-hole aggregate play-off, but saw his approach spin back off the green into the Valley of Sin before he narrowly missed the birdie attempt.

Spieth, who won the Masters in April and US Open last month, had battled back superbly after four-putting the eighth for a double bogey, carding birdies on the next two holes and holing from 50 feet on the 16th to tie the lead.

However, the world No 2 then bogeyed the 17th after mis-hitting his approach and had to settle for a closing 69 to finish 14 under par alongside playing partner Jason Day.

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