Brian Harman turned again each problem within the, from massive names to dangerous climate, and took his place amongst main champions Sunday with a victory that was by no means significantly unsure at Royal Liverpool.
Harman twice responded to a uncommon bogey with back-to-back birdies, leaving everybody else taking part in for second. He closed with a 1-under 70, making an 8-foot par putt on the final gap for a six-shot victory.
At age 36, he’s the oldest first-time main winner since Sergio Garcia was 37 when he received the Masters in 2017. Harman is the fifteenth American to win the Open within the final 20 years.
Garcia wasn’t a shock. Not many would have seen this victory coming at the beginning of the week. Harman had gone 167 tournaments over six years since his final win within the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship — 2,268 days in the past. That is solely his third title in his 12 years on the PGA Tour. This yr alone, he missed the lower on the Masters and PGA Championship earlier than ending forty second on the U.S. Open final month, in line with CBS Sports.
After which the avid outdoorsman made profitable golf’s oldest championship look as simple as taking pictures fish in a barrel.
Masters champion Jon Rahm birdied his final gap for a 70 to make it a four-way tie for second place with Tom Kim (67), Sepp Straka (69) and Jason Day (69).
That turned out to be the B-flight.
“He received by six, so there’s nothing actually any of us may have performed,” Rahm mentioned.
Harman took the lead on Friday morning with the second of 4 straight birdies early within the second spherical. He by no means trailed over the ultimate 51 holes, main by 5 pictures after the second spherical and 5 pictures after the third spherical.
He began the spherical within the rain with a smattering of boos from the grandstand, followers both wanting an enormous star or maybe not taking note of the masterclass efficiency Harman had delivered. Enjoying with Tommy Fleetwood of England on Saturday, Harman mentioned he heard a number of feedback he described as unrepeatable.
However he is stuffed with Georgia grit, by no means wavering in rain or sunshine or wind.
He walked up towards the 18th inexperienced to a standing ovation, and tapped his hand to his coronary heart to acknowledge the followers as he walked off the inexperienced. All that remained was signing his card — a 13-under 271 — and return to gather the silver claret jug, the oldest trophy in golf.
Brian Harman, champion golfer of the yr. Think about that.
“I’ll have a few pints out of this right here trophy, I consider,” Harman mentioned.
The end, even with none drama, was becoming. Harman hit his method from 194 yards right into a pot bunker proper of the 18th inexperienced, solely the third bunker he was in over 72 holes. That is the largest key to Royal Liverpool. And he made the putt, giving him solely 106 for the week.
“I doubled down on my course of and I do know it is boring and it isn’t flashy,” Harman mentioned. “However, till hitting that final bunker shot, I’ve not thought of profitable the event.”
There was one anxious second early on Sunday in a gentle rain. Harman hit his drive right into a gorse bush left of the golf green on the par-5 fifth gap and needed to take a penalty drop. It led to his second bogey of the spherical.
Rahm, taking part in within the group forward, appeared to get a type of breaks that fall to main winners. His drive had landed between bushes, permitting for a shot simply wanting the inexperienced and a birdie.
The lead was down to 3 pictures. The rain wasn’t stopping. The remainder of the hyperlinks, together with the strain that comes with Sunday at a significant, was nonetheless forward of him.
Harman drained a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-3 sixth, a 25-foot birdie putt on the subsequent gap and he was on his method.
He dropped one other shot on the par-3 thirteenth that decreased his result in 4 pictures with 5 to play. After which he made birdie from 40 toes on the robust 14th, and adopted with an 8-foot birdie on the fifteenth.
The yr ended in additional disappointment for Rory McIlroy, who had received the Scottish Open final week and was the final Open champion at Royal Liverpool in 2014. He was by no means actually an element, though he actually teased the massive galleries that adopted him.
Sunday was no exception. McIlroy began 9 pictures behind and ran off three straight birdies, beginning with a 50-foot putt on No. 3. He was inside 5 pictures and nonetheless on the entrance 9. After which he stalled, not making one other birdie till Harman was properly on his method.
McIlroy was one shot higher every spherical — 71-70-69-68 — to tie for sixth with Emiliano Grillo (68). That wasn’t almost sufficient to match a efficiency like Harman delivered.
“I am optimistic concerning the future and simply acquired to maintain plugging away,” mentioned McIlroy, who now has gone 34 majors since profitable his final one in 2014.
Cameron Younger, the runner-up final yr at St. Andrews, performed within the last group with Harman and by no means utilized any strain. He hit a chip that rolled off the facet of the inexperienced on the opening gap and made bogey, and he missed method too many putts inside 10 toes.
He closed with a 73 and tied for eighth with Shubhankar Sharma of India, who had 17 pars and one birdie in his spherical of 70.
Harman now has a five-year exemption in all of the majors and joins the checklist of Open champions at Hoylake that embrace McIlroy and Tiger Woods, Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen.
He can also take into consideration a return to Europe in September for the Ryder Cup in Rome. The victory, price $3 million, strikes him comfortably to No. 3 within the standings. The highest six a month from now robotically qualify.
Harman by no means has performed in a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup. He strikes to No. 10 on the planet. Over 4 days at Royal Liverpool, he actually appeared the half.