Scott, Day squander their major chances
July 20, 2015
By Helen Ross and Sean Martin , PGATOUR.COM
- July 20, 2015
- Jason Day reacts after leaving his birdie putt to tie the lead short on the 72nd hole of The Open Championship. (Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Zach Johnson defeated Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman in a four-hole aggregate playoff Monday at the 144th Open Championship. This is his second major victory after winning the Masters in 2007.
Both Johnson and Marc Leishman shot 66 to get into the playoff, while Louis Oosthuizen, who was seeking his second title at St. Andrews, shot 69. They tied at 15-under 273.
Jordan Spieth came up a shot short in his bid to win a third straight major. He needed to birdie the 18th at St. Andrews to make it to the playoff. A misjudged wedge shot left his approach short and in the Valley of Sin. Spieth said his final-round performance surpassed the one he put on at the U.S. Open.
FOUR THINGS TO KNOW
1. HAVE YOURSELF A WEEKEND: Marc Leishman made the cut at St. Andrews with just a shot to spare. He shot 64-66 on the weekend to tie for the lead after regulation, though. Louis Oosthuizen came close to joining a select list of modern players to win twice at St. Andrews. Only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have done so after 1910.
“I was definitely happy with the way I played and gave it my best shot,” Leishman said. “Zach just played really well in the playoff, and I didn't have my best stuff there. Disappointed, but that's the way it goes.”
Oosthuizen made birdie on 18 to reach the playoff, and lipped out an 8-foot birdie putt that would have extended the playoff. This was the second playoff Oosthuizen lost in a major. He also did so at the 2012 Masters.
“I was really motivated to win this championship this week,” Oosthuizen said. “I love this place. I've said it a thousand times. I can't wait for it to come back here again.”
2. SCOTT SQUANDERS ANOTHER CHANCE: For the second time in four years, Adam Scott squandered a chance to win The Open Championship over the final holes.
In 2012, the Aussie held a four-stroke lead but made bogeys on the final four holes to let Ernie Els grab the Claret Jug for the second time. And Sunday, he was tied for the lead with five holes remaining but closed with three bogeys, one double bogey and a par.
"It's hard to digest it all at the moment," said Scott, who went out in 31 and closed with 40. "But I probably needed a really good back nine, and I had a really poor back nine. I feel like I wasn't even in it at the moment."
Scott, who finished second, third and fifth at the last three Opens, said once he got on the homeward nine, he stopped watching the scoreboard. He knew how hard the Old Course would play into the wind and he knew he needed to focus.
"I'll be disappointed the way I played the last five holes for sure," said Scott, who tied for 10th. "I could have done a lot better than that. It's a shame not to get in there and finish with a shot, that's for sure, but maybe it was too much to ask today."
3. DAY FRUSTRATED WITH FINISH: Jason Day is just 27 but he's already made quite a name for himself on the game's biggest stages. Monday's tie for fourth was his ninth top-10 finish in 20 majors, and his second straight.
Day, despite battling a severe case of vertigo, held a share of the lead entering the final round of the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. And he was in a three-way tie for the lead entering Monday's final 18 holes at St. Andrews only to finish one shot shy of the playoff when his birdie putt on the 72nd hole came up short.
"I've been working very hard to try and accomplish my first major, and you know, it's a little frustrating with how it finished," Day said. "But I've been in contention at major championships a lot now, and it just shows I'm doing the right things, and I can't look at it as a negative.
"I'm just a little frustrated because I just walked off the course about five minutes ago. Give it time so I can just sit down and look at what the positives were and move on from there and just try and get better."
Day was solid all week, making just three bogeys -- and none over the final 18 holes. At the same time, after he made consecutive birdies at Nos. 5 and 6 on Monday, Day couldn't get another to drop.
"It was just tough to get the ball close to the pins today," the Aussie said. "I don't know, it's just something that I really want to do, is I really want to have that shot at immortality. It'll soon come my way. I've just got to be patient with it."
4. AMAZING AMATEURS: Amateurs played a large role in the week, and Oklahoma State’s Jordan Niebrugge emerged as the winner of the silver medal as The Open Championship’s low amateur. He shot a final-round 70 to finish sixth at 11-under 277, four shots out of the playoff. Niebrugge’s top-10 finish earns him a return to next year’s Open.
The performance also should lock up his place on the United States team for this year’s Walker Cup. He played for the USA in the 2013 Walker Cup, too, after winning the U.S. Amateur Public Links.
Niebrugge said he will return to Oklahoma State for his senior season. The Wisconsin native came to Britain for a couple weeks to gain experience on links golf. He entered Open qualifying when he received an exemption into the final stage.
Ollie Schniederjans shot a final-round 67 to finish T12 in his final start as an amateur. He will make his pro debut at this week’s RBC Canadian Open. English amateur Ashley Chesters also tied for 12th after shooting 69 in the final round.
Paul Dunne, the amateur who played in Monday’s final group alongside Louis Oosthuizen, shot 78 to fall into a tie for 30th after sharing the lead entering the final round.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Zach Johnson birdies the 72nd hole to post 15-under at The Open
QUOTE OF THE DAYDreams have been realized, goals accomplished. I'm honored to be your Open Champion and Champion Golfer of the Year.
BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Congrats to @ZachJohnsonPGA!!! A great friend and better champion! One of the best guys and hardest workers in the game. So proud of you bud— Webb Simpson (@webbsimpson1) July 20, 2015
Congrats Zach. You showed what we all knew you were made of. Enjoy the celebration!!!— Tom Watson (@TomWatsonPGA) July 20, 2015