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Jul 23rd, 2023

Brian Harman Cruises to Open Victory

American finishes 6 shots clear at Royal Liverpool

American Brian Harman held his nerve at the rain-soaked Royal Liverpool to claim his first major and the 151st Open Championship, finishing six shots clear of his closest competitors after a thoroughly professional final round.

Despite the miserable conditions, a one-under 70 proved more than enough for the American, who finished on 13 under at Hoylake, six shots clear of the chasing pack which comprised; Tom Kim (Kor), Sepp Straka (Aut), Jason Day (Aus), and Masters champion Jon Rahm (Spa).

In truth, much of the work had been done in the second and third rounds, with Harman shooting 65 and 69 respectively on Friday and Saturday, resulting in the American sitting pretty on a goliath total of -12. Going into the final day, his closest competitor in Cameron Young who sat at -7 would had all the work to do, with an even greater swing required by the would-be championship hopefuls.

Harman's lead never dropped below three despite early bogeys on the second and fifth holes, the latter coming after he drove his ball into a bush, seeing him drop to 10 under.

At that point Rahm, who had birdied the fifth, and shot a brilliant -8 the day before, was his closest challenger and had narrowed the deficit down to only three shots. 

However Harman would go on to pick up thee birdies and would only drop one further shot, meaning he was out of sight for much of the round leaving the chasing pack behind, jousting for second.

Austrian Sepp Straka bogeyed the last to post a 69 and join South Korean Tom Kim for T2.
Rahm birdied the last with a fantastic putt to climb into a share of second, alongside Australia's Jason Day who had four birdies and two bogeys in his final-round 69.
Cameron Young, who started the day as Harman's nearest challenger and playing partner, faded with a 73 and five-under total, looking jaded at points as he never mounted a realistic challenge for the top spot.

Todays win becomes Harman's third career PGA Tour win and first major championship title in 340th career start at the age of 36 years, 6 months, his first tour win since the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship.

The American had a 98.3% conversion rate when putting within 10 feet, a stat which undoubtably secured him the coveted Claret Jug.

"I knew I had a six-shot lead on the 18th, I was ready to putt it down that fairway," he told BBC Sport.

"To get it done on the biggest stage, it's what you dream about as a kid.

"I've always thought about holding this trophy. From my cold, dead fingers it is going to be tough to get it out of my hands."

"I couldn't be happier to be the champion. To all the fans, all the nice words, and all the fans back home tooting me on I appreciate it so much. Thank you."

Home favourite Matthew Jordan secured a return to The Open in 2024 thanks to his top-10 finish. It has been a fairy-tale week for Jordan, who was on the Royal Liverpool chipping green at the age of three and became a member aged seven. The R&A gave him the honour of hitting the opening tee shot on Thursday.
Another home gown favourite, Tommy Fleetwood finished on four under, while world No.1 Scottie Scheffler, despite a final round four-under 67, ended a run of seven consecutive top-five finishes in his worst result of 2023, finishing T23, along with fellow Americans Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.

TAGS: Brian Harman, The Open, Royal Liverpool, 2023