Competitors and spectators from every corner of the globe braved the unpleasant UK weather conditions to take part in and experience two world class golf competitions as The Scottish Open and The Open played out. Two competitions that saw the best of the best battle out over four rounds to see who could be crowned the Scottish Open Champion and the 151st Open Champion.
Over a rain soaked few days in North Berwick it was Rory McIlroy who came out on top as The Renaissance Club was treated to a scintillating finish. The Northern Irishman birdied the last two holes in an exciting finish as he edged out fellow Brit Robert MacIntyre. His first win in Scotland, McIlroy set himself up well for the Open at Hoylake with a win that showed his class in typical Links course conditions.
In a field of high calibre, it was Scotsman Robert MacIntyre who set the pace as he finished his fourth round -14 shooting an impressive 64 in pretty treacherous conditions. With $9,000,000 worth of prize money up for grabs all MacIntyre could do was sit and wait for McIlroy to finish his round.
Unfortunately for MacIntyre, his excellent fourth round wasn’t enough as McIlroy’s brilliance shone through with a birdie putt on the 17th to draw level and another on the 18th to snatch the trophy out of the Scotsman’s hands in front of his home crowd.
It was the South Korean Byeong Hun An who got off to a flying start in his first round as he shot a course record equalling 61, finding himself with a three shot lead over McIlroy on the first day. However, after two level par rounds he found himself slip into joint third alongside Open favourite Scottie Scheffler and Swede David Lingmerth.
Other British high finishers included Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrell Hatton in 6th place as they both finished -9. Fleetwood looked to be closing the gap on McIlroy but faded in the last couple of holes as he also prepared for the Open at Royal Liverpool as one of the favourites. Fellow Open favourite, Viktor Hovland, found himself finishing -5 in a disappointing 25th place. The Norwegian had poor first and fourth rounds to see his hopes of a confidence booster ahead of the Liverpool challenge diminished.
Although Robert MacIntyre didn’t get the result he wanted in the end, he must be credited for some stunning golf on a day where conditions could have ruined anybody’s day. He proved that he could challenge and compete with the very best and will be a prospect to watch out for in years to come.
So could McIlroy do it? Well it was another nail-biting four days of action as the players travelled to Merseyside to battle it out for the final major of the year and the 151st Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Course. Unfortunately, for McIlroy the wait for his first major since 2014 will have to wait as the weekend belonged to American Brian Harman as he won emphatically to secure his first major competition.
Another weekend where conditions were less than ideal, challenged players and was representative of more typical links course conditions. However, even the British wind and rain wasn’t enough to stop some of the world’s best to battle the elements and challenge for the Claret Jug.
Amateur Christo Lamprecht was a surprise leader after his first round when he shot a 66 to top the leaderboard for much of the day but Tommy Fleetwood and Emiliano Grillo quickly equalled that score. The South African was competing in his first major competition and at only 22, he looks to have an extremely promising career ahead of him. However, his lack of experience showed after day one as he finished +11.
A poor showing from Scottish Open runner up Robert MacIntyre also saw him well down the leaderboard at +10. Similarly, pre-Championship favourite Brooks Koepka also found himself finishing a disappointing +8. Perhaps the challenging conditions proving an obstacle for some?
But it didn’t seem to phase Brian Harman as he led from his second round to the finish with some superb golf played. There were times when others threatened with Jon Rahm shooting the best round of the competition at 63 in his third round as well as Sepp Straka looking promising.
But none could get close to the American, as Harman reigned supreme, 6 shots clear of his fellow competitors at -13. He left the rest of the competition to jostle for second as Rahm, Straka, Jason Day and Tom Kim all finished on -7.
In terms of British contingent, Rory McIlroy was the highest Briton with a joint sixth place finish alongside Argentinian Emiliano Grillo at -6. Not the result the Northern Irishman hoped for but a respectable finish nonetheless. Tommy Fleetwood, one of the favourites before play, finished a frustrating joint tenth -4 after a very good first round of 66 alongside local man Matthew Jordan in only his second ever Major.
So a new name held aloft the Claret Jug as Brian Harman was the comfortable winner of the final Major of the year. Despite Rory McIlroy’s heightened confidence after his win at The Renaissance Club earlier in the week, his good form wasn’t enough to carry him through to win his 5th Major as the favourites were blown away by Harman.
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