Jordan Spieth clinched the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale after an up and down final round. Spieth beat fellow American Matt Kuchar by 3 shots, carding a final total of 12 under par against Kuchar’s 9 under total. Both shot final rounds of 69. The initial poor play from both players nearly brought the chasing pack into contention, led by China’s Haotong Li, who shot a special final round 63 to place himself in with a chance. Spieth’s major victory did not come easy however as he fought back from a dreadful start to snatch the trophy from the hands of Kuchar.
Special Jordan Spieth
Spieth’s 2017 Open Championship victory is major number three for the American world number 3. Spieth is ¾ of the way to completing the Major Grand Slam at the young age of 23. He joins Jack Nicklaus as the only two golfers to have won three majors before turning 24 years old. This is undoubtedly an incredible achievement and gives Jordan the opportunity to chase history at this year’s PGA Championship. Should he win at Quail Hollow, Jordan Spieth will become the youngest ever golfer to have completed the Major Grand Slam.
Jordan Spieth had a lot of pressure on him going into the final round on Sunday. It was perhaps more than a golfer who was leading going into the final round of a major would have been under. Given how he collapsed in the 2016 Masters, having had a 5 shot lead going into the final day, many people were unsure as to what to think. Which Jordan would they see? Would they see the cool Jordan Spieth that had played the first three rounds, or the Jordan that folded in the 2016 Masters? There is therefore no doubt Spieth was under immense pressure to perform.
Spieth’s Rollercoaster Final Round:
And Spieth started the final round a completely changed man from the one we had seen over the first three days. Whereas during the first three days we had seen two scintillating rounds of 65 from Jordan, he completely collapsed in the first few holes. 3 bogeys in his first four holes annihilated the 3 shot lead he had held going into the final day. That shook Jordan immensely and set the tone for his back nine and he struggled to a 3 over 37. The pressure was increased given Matt Kuchar’s cool opening nine 34.
Spieth struggled during the back nine, hitting a wayward tee shot on 13 that resulted in a dropped shot. The recovery shot took 20 minutes and a miraculous up and down for bogey is what really kick-started his round. The next 5 holes were what Jordan Spieth called ‘the best stretch of golf I have ever played’. Jordan went birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie to move back under par for his round and open up a two shot lead. He holed a couple of monster putts on 15 and 16, sending fans crazy. Kuchar had done nothing wrong all day, yet the championship slipped away from him after some golfing brilliance from Spieth.
How did Spieth turn it around?
The Open Championship victory for Jordan Spieth was down to a couple of things that really made a difference. The first, one that Jordan credited in his victory speech, was his caddie Michael Greller. Greller did not let up on Jordan, providing stability and encouragement where necessary and drilling into Spieth that he had the ability to win. It certainly made the difference. The second factor that made a difference was Spieth’s mental ability. Many credit the skill of a player for his victories yet in reality it is a player’s mental strength that makes the ultimate difference. Jordan did not let memories of Augusta in 2016 get the better of him, and came out on top. If he continues like this, he could be world number one again very soon.
This Week on Tour:
This week the PGA Tour is gearing up for the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville, Canada. Jhonattan Vegas returns to defend the title he won in such spectacular fashion last year, where he closed with a blazing 8 under 64 to give him a one shot victory over Dustin Johnson, Martin Laird and John Rahm. Vegas will face still competition from a field that includes World Number One Dustin Johnson and Canadian PGA Tour winners Mackenzie Hughes and Adam Hadwin.
This week the Porsche European Open will be held on the European Tour in Hamburg, Germany. Defending Champion Alexander Levy returns to defend his title against a stellar field that includes American Patrick Reed and South African Charl Schwartzel.