By Ryan Mayer, CBS Local Sports
In the rain during an unusual Monday final round at St. Andrews, it took extra golf in a three man playoff for Zach Johnson to win the 144th Open Championship over Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman. It was another low day on the course as the soft conditions allowed for many players to make runs and finish under par on the day. Johnson started the day 3 back of the leaders before shooting a 66 to put him in a three way tie for first after 72 holes. He shot 1 under on the four playoff holes to take home the victory. This was his 1st win at The Open and 2nd major win on the PGA Tour after winning The Masters in 2007.
The day began with amateur Paul Dunne, Louis Oosthuizen and Jason Day sitting atop the leader board at 12 under par. Dunne was unable to continue his fine play and his quest to become the first amateur since Bobby Jones in 1930 to win the Open as the 22 year old Irishman posted a 5 over 77 to finish 6 under on the weekend. Oosthuizen on the other hand was able to take advantage of being in the final group birdieing 18 to force his way into the playoff.
Johnson burst out of the gate early going out in 31 on the front nine and recording eight birdies on the round. He started the final round 3 strokes back sitting at -9 after 54 holes finishing 15 under and sweating out the last couple of groups. After two birdies on the first two playoff holes, Johnson bogeyed 17 to open the door for Oosthuizen who promptly bogeyed also. Both finished with par on the 18th.
Marc Leishman, who shot a 64 in the third round on Sunday, came back in the final round Monday with a 66 to finish at 15 under. A bogey on the 16th after a great shot out of the bunker set him back into a tie with Johnson atop the field. A bogey on the first playoff hole ended his bid.
Jordan Spieth the winner of the first two majors of the year began the round in 4th place one stroke back of the leaders at 11 under. Spieth made his run at the title, up until a double bogey on the par 3 eighth hole in which he four putted after placing his tee shot on the green. He would pick those strokes back up on 9 & 10 with consecutive birdies, Spieth ended up in 4th place with a final score of 14 under. He bogeyed the crucial 17th hole to drop him out of the playoff after a long birdie putt on 16.
The final two days of this tournament saw low numbers posted everywhere with only 10 players on Sunday and 18 on Monday finishing over par. It was a historic Open for the amateurs as the aforementioned Dunne, Jordan Niebrugge, Ollie Schniederjans and Ashley Chesters all finished in the Top 40 of the tournament.
The week was all about the 13-17 holes, the toughest on the golf course all week long.
The notoriously difficult 17th hole also gave us the most memorable blooper of the day as Phil Mickelson placed his drive on a hotel balcony.
In the end it was a memorable Open between the cancelled Saturday second round, weather delays and ridiculously low scores once the golfers were able to get out on the course. Johnson was the golfer able to take advantage of the favorable conditions at St. Andrews in taking home the Claret Jug.
Watch Zach Johnson’s Player Style Files here.
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him. Agree/Disagree? Thoughts, comments, complaints? Email or tweet him.