A turbulent British Open
The British Open got underway at St Andrews last week, as some of golf’s leading stars (and home grown hopefuls) descended on the quiet Scottish town. The town, which is widely known as the Home of Golf, is a favourite amongst many players and fans, because it always promises to offer up some exciting golf. Unfortunately, the town is also known for its temperamental weather, and despite it being the height of summer, rain stopped play on Friday as the course was deluged by torrential rain showers. Play was postponed for 3 hours 14 minutes as officials waited for the rain to stop and then subsequently attempt to clear the course of standing water.
Because of the inclement weather, 42 players were expected to complete their second round on Saturday morning, rather than Friday. However, Saturday’s weather was also less than ideal conditions for golf. Early morning analysis by the R & A team deemed that the course was playable, however increasing wind speeds soon forced another suspension of play, as the wind began to interfere with balls as they lay. Conclusion of the second round did not restart until 6pm, with officials deciding to postpone all third round golf until Sunday. Despite finishing over 24 hours behind schedule, first round leader Dustin Johnson was able to retain his lead, coming home with a one shot advantage over Englishman Danny Willett.
As third round play got underway on Sunday things soon began to look very different on the leader board. Dustin Johnson failed to capitalise on his lead, and began to slip down the rankings after getting 4 bogeys. The third day ended with amateur Paul Dunne, and professionals Louis Oosthuizen and Jason Day tied for the lead on 12-under. Close behind was Jordan Spieth (-11) who was continuing to chase the title in the hope of securing a historic hat trick by winning the first 3 out of this year’s 4 masters titles. Padraig Harrington rounded up the top 5, coming in at 10-under par. Dunne’s share of the lead was a historic event, as no amateur has held the lead in the British Open after 3 rounds since 1927.
With all to play for, the final round kicked off on Monday morning, and everything came down to the wire. Spieth looked set to make history right up to the notorious 17th “Road Hole” which he bogeyed. Still in with the chance to make the play-offs, he failed to make a birdie putt on the 18th, and eventually came home 1 behind the leading trio. A round of 5 over par for amateur Paul Dunne saw him slip down the leader board, and resulted in Jordan Niebrugge taking the amateur Silver Medal instead.
At the end of the fourth round, Zach Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman, were all tied on 15-under par, forcing the tournament into a four-hole play-off. Johnson was able to secure his all out victory with two birdies, followed by a bogey and a par on the extra holes played.