Zach Johnson wins British Open in a three-way playoff

SHARE Zach Johnson wins British Open in a three-way playoff

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Jordan Spieth amazing bid for a Grand Slam was stopped Monday by Zach Johnson, no longer just a normal guy from Iowa.

Johnson captured his second major at the home of golf, winning the British Open in a playoff over Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman that capped off a wild five days at St. Andrews and a finish that won’t soon be forgotten.

Most of that was because of Spieth, who came within inches of a shot at the third leg of the Grand Slam. The Masters and U.S. Open champion rolled in a 50-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole to tie for the lead with two holes to play. He missed an 8-foot putt on the tough 17th hole and took bogey, and his final bid to join the playoff was a long birdie attempt from the edge of the Valley of Sin.

It turned left of the hole, ending the latest bid at the holy grail of golf — winning all four professional majors in the same year.

“We gave it a great effort,” Spieth said.

Spieth hung around for the playoff, and walked out to the course to give Johnson a hug before the 39-year-old received the silver claret jug.

Johnson rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole in regulation to close with a 6-under 66. Leishman badly missed his birdie putt that would have won it, while Oosthuizen hit a perfect wedge to 5 feet for birdie and a 69 to join the playoff.

Johnson opened the four-hole playoff with two birdies. When he missed his 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole at No. 18, Oosthuizen had a 12-foot birdie putt to force sudden death. It caught the left edge of the cup, and Johnson was in tears.

He said when he won the 2007 Masters that he was just a normal guy from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Now he has two majors among his 12 PGA Tour victories.

“I’m grateful. I’m humbled. I’m honored,” Johnson said. “This is the birthplace of the game, and that jug means so much in sports. I felt great. I’m just in awe right now.”

FINAL ROUND HIGHLIGHTS

6:25 (all times local)

Jordan Spieth has rolled in a 50-foot putt to create a three-way tie for the lead at the British Open.

Spieth rolled in the long putt at the 16th hole Monday, pushing his score to 15 under. Zach Johnson and Marc Leishman are already in the clubhouse at 15-under 273.

If there is a tie, there will be a four-hole playoff, with the best cumulative score winning the claret jug. The playoff will be held over the first, second, 17th and 18th holes. If it’s still tied after that, they go to sudden death.

While it’s getting late in the day, there should be plenty of daylight for what is already the first Monday finish at the Open since 1988. It doesn’t get dark in this part of Scotland until around 9:30 p.m.

Johnson is on the practice green, warming up in case the Open has its first playoff since 2009.

Spieth is trying to join Ben Hogan as the only golfers to win the first three majors of the year.

6 p.m.

Marc Leishman has surrendered the outright lead at the British Open with his first bogey in 35 holes.

The 31-year-old Australian hit a nifty shot out of a pot punker at the 16th hole Monday, only to miss a 4-foot putt to save par.

That left him at 15 under, tied with clubhouse leader Zach Johnson. It was Leishman’s first bogey since the 17th hole in the second round.

Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion, rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole for a 6-under 66 in the final round and 273 total.

Leishman picked up his only victory on the PGA Tour at the 2012 Travelers Championship and endured a personal crisis this year when his wife came down with a near-fatal illness.

Leishman dropped out of the Masters to be with his wife and even considered giving up golf. She has since made a nearly full recovery.

___

5:35 p.m.

Zach Johnson has posted a score at the British Open.

Now, he’ll have to wait to see if it’s good enough.

Johnson rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt at the 72nd hole for a 6-under 66 on Monday. He’a at 15-under 273, one stroke behind Marc Leishman. The unheralded Aussie is trying to pull off a major surprise, pushing his score to 16 under with a bogey-free round through 15 holes.

Leishman still has to play No. 17, the ominous Road Hole.

Jordan Spieth is two shots back and has four holes left.

When Johnson’s final putt dropped in the cup, his knees buckled and he pumped his right fist.

His caddie, Damon Green, did a little dance to celebrate.

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5:25 p.m.

Jordan Spieth is bidding for the Grand Slam. Australia’s Marc Leishman is trying to pull off a huge surprise at the British Open.

Leishman has yet to make a bogey and pushed his score to 16 under and led with four holes to play Monday at the Old Course.

Louis Oosthuizen is one shot off the lead, while Speith is among those who are two shots back.

Zach Johnson and Adam Scott shared the lead until both ran into trouble on the back nine. Johnson bogeyed the 13th, and took another bogey at the 17th after his foot appeared to slip as he was hitting his second shot. Scott dropped back with consecutive bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes.

___

4:45 p.m.

Jordan Spieth is bouncing back in the British Open after a major mistake at one of the shortest holes on the Old Course.

One shot off the lead as he went to the 174-yard eighth on Monday, Spieth hit an errant tee shot that wound up at least 100 feet right of the flag. Then, one of the best putters on the PGA Tour sent one rocketing past the cup, the ball rolling off the other side of the green.

Spieth putted back up to about 4 feet, but missed the short one for a double-bogey.

That dropped him three shots behind the co-leaders at the time, Adam Scott and Zach Johnson.

But Spieth bounced back with birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, leaving him just two shots out of the lead and still eyeing his third straight major title.

___

3:35 p.m.

Zach Johnson made the turn in the final round of the British Open with the outright lead.

The 2007 Masters champion shot 31 on the front nine to push his score to 14 under.

But nothing is settled in the Open’s first Monday finish since 1988.

Five players are within one shot of the lead, including Jordan Spieth. He’s trying to join Ben Hogan as the only players to win the first three majors of the year.

___

3:05 p.m.

Paul Dunne finally looks like an amateur at the British Open.

The 22-year-old Irishman began the final round Monday as the first amateur to hold at least a share of the 54-hole lead since Bobby Jones in 1927.

But the pressure of the moment seemed to get to the youngster from his very first shot.

Dunne hit a poor drive at No. 1, chunked his second shot short of the burn, chipped over the water to about 12 feet, but struck a weak putt that left him with his first bogey in 21 holes.

He made another at the second, after driving onto the putting green over by the New Course.

That drops Dunne to 10 under for the tournament and three shots off the lead. In fact, he’s no longer the low amateur. That spot belongs to Ashley Chester of England, who’s at 11 under through 13 holes.

___

2:20 p.m.

With his eyes on the claret jug and a shot at the Grand Slam, Jordan Spieth has teed off on a rainy afternoon at the British Open.

Spieth is one shot off the lead and playing in the next-to-last group with co-leader Jason Day.

The other co-leaders, Louis Oosthuizen and amateur Paul Dunne, are in the final group.

Spieth is looking to join Ben Hogan as the only players to win the first three majors of the year. The 21-year-old Texan already claimed the Masters and the U.S. Open.

No player has won all four majors in a calendar year. The PGA Championship is next month at Whistling Strait.

___

2 p.m.

Dustin Johnson hoped for a quick start to get back into contention at the British Open.

Instead, he played himself totally out of the mix at the beginning of the final round Monday.

After a birdie at the opening hole, Johnson sprayed a shot into the gorse at No. 2, had to take a penalty, and settled for a bogey. He bogeyed the next two holes as well, slipped in a birdie at No. 5, then bogeyed two of the next three holes to drop his score to 4-under par.

He is now eight shots back, with the leaders still waiting to tee off.

Johnson led after 36 holes but an ugly 75 on Sunday knocked him back. He’s made only one par in his last 12 holes, to go along with eight bogeys and three birdies, all but throwing away another shot at his first major title.

___

1:30 p.m.

This could only happen to Phil Mickelson.

Lefty was moving up the leaderboard Monday in the British Open with a string of birdies that got him to 10-under, just 2 shots off the lead. With winds picking up and rain expected later, a good finish might have at least put him in the conversation on the Old Course.

Then he hit his drive on 17, the famous Road Hole where players often aim over the corner of the Old Course Hotel to find a narrow patch of fairway on the other side.

Unfortunately, Mickelson’s aim was off. His ball hit the hotel itself, bouncing around before making an improbable landing on the balcony of someone’s room. There, the ball sat, almost taunting him.

Mickelson would go on to make a triple bogey 7 on the hole, effectively ending his chances.

___

12:20 p.m.

Another amateur is surging into contention at the British Open.

Former Georgia Tech star Ollie Schniederjans is 6 under through his first 10 holes Monday, pushing his overall score to 10 under. He has seven birdies and is just two shots off the lead, with the final group still more than two hours from teeing off.

The 22-year-old Schniederjans is one of three amateurs in the top seven, a group that includes co-leader Paul Dunne at 12 under. Another amateur, Jordan Niebrugge, is three shots off the pace.

Schniederjans was the world’s top-ranked amateur last year and is playing his final tournament before turning pro at next week’s Canadian Open.

In the meantime, the engraver of the claret jug is no doubt sweating a bit as Schniederjans moves up the leaderboard.

That would be a lot of letters to quickly get on the trophy.

___

11:55 a.m.

Jordan Spieth has arrived at the Old Course.

The 21-year-old Texan stopped to sign a few autographs Monday before heading to the practice range to begin preparing for his shot at history in the British Open.

He’s already won the Masters and the U.S. Open, and he’s trying to join Ben Hogan as the only players to win the first three majors of a year. Spieth is one shot off the lead heading into the final round.

If he can win the Open, Spieth will go to next month’s PGA Championship trying to become the first player to win the modern version of the Grand Slam.

Spieth tees off at 2:20 p.m. in the next-to-last group with co-leader Jason Day.

Day is tied for the top spot with Louis Oosthuizen and amateur Paul Dunne, who will tee off in the final group at 2:30 p.m.

___

11:35 a.m.

Bernhard Langer has made what could be his final crossing of the Swilcan Bridge.

The 57-year-old German got into the British Open for the first time since 2011 by winning last year’s Senior Open Championship. He proved himself worthy by making the cut, and finished up with an even-par 72 on Monday.

Langer knows that he’s a longshot to make the field when the Open returns to St. Andrews in 2020. So he lingered a bit on the famous stone arch in the 18th fairway, waving to the crowd and posing for pictures. He blew kisses after his final putt gave him a 1-over 289 for the week.

Langer never won the British Open but he usually played well at St. Andrews. In seven appearances at the Old Course, he missed the cut only once and tied for the runner-up spot behind Seve Ballesteros in 1984.

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11 a.m.

For the first time since 1988, the British Open is finishing on a Monday.

It looks like another day for going low at the Old Course.

The morning starters are again playing under partly sunny skies with only a light breeze, setting up a repeat of Sunday’s third round when the scoreboard was filled with red numbers. New Zealand’s Ryan Fox posted a 5-under 67 playing in the first group. South African Branden Grace is 6 under through 13 holes.

Of course, all eyes are on Jordan Spieth, who’s looking to pick up the third leg of the Grand Slam. He’s one shot off the lead. Then there’s Paul Dunne, positioned to be the first amateur champion since Bobby Jones in 1930. Dunne is tied for the top spot with Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen.

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