It isn’t often you see a golfer take the lead after the first round and then never forgo that lead on his way to the championship, but that is exactly what Rory McIlroy did in this year’s Open, in what was a quite remarkable display of golf.
McIlroy is trailblazing his way to many records for a European player (first to win 3 out of 4 majors) and at 25 it is hard to not see him winning many more majors in his career. Personally I’m not a McIlroy fan (I’ll leave it at that because otherwise I could be here all day) but it is hard to not be impressed with how he played this week. To put it into context McIlroy shot the round of the day for the 1st round, the second best score of the 2nd round, the third best score of the 3rd round and did exactly what he needed to do in the 4th round to win the tournament. McIlroy’s win was never really under threat when he went into the final round with a six shot and all he needed to do was shoot level par and he would win, he went one better and his challengers were never able to put in a serious challenge (never had someone within 1 shot). It is incredible that McIlroy has won three majors in almost identical fashion, taking a big lead into the final round with nobody really threatening him in that. It will be interesting to see if he can win a major when he is actually under proper pressure from another player.
As far as McIlroy’s challengers go (if you can call them that) nobody ever really put in a serious challenge after McIlroy’s two eagles in the 3rd round. The best of the challengers was Sergio Garcia who shot a strong round of -6 which sadly for him was two shots less than he needed. I’m glad for Sergio that he lost by two shots because if he had only lost by the one then I wonder if he could have recovered from the major mistake which was leaving the ball in the bunker at the 15th. He is such a great player but he is so mentally fragile that I think the damage may have been irreparable, he played really well at the Open and put in a great display in the final round and hopefully that will help him push on to finally win the major which he so richly deserves. As a side note how soul shattering must it be to have a man 10 years your junior talking about how one day it will happen for you, must be frustrating.
Rickie Fowler also finished on -15 (two shots behind McIlroy) and probably came the closest of all the golfers of challenging McIlroy. He worked his way into being joint leader at one point during the 3rd round but followed that up with 3 bogeys in four holes, as McIlroy went on a little scoring run. It didn’t feel like Fowler had played particularly well in the last round but he actually shot -5 without scoring a bogey, he scrambled like an expert. Got to believe that Fowler has a major in his future and his three top 5’s this year agrees with that, just needs to get over the line.
There were a number of other golfers who finished the championship very well and I could name many (here’s some; Scott, Furyk, Lowry, Leishman and Karlsson) but the one who in the end wasn’t that close but should have been was Dustin Johnson. He had put himself in a position to seriously challenge after his second round 65 but then managed to put in two lacklustre rounds to finish the tournament, very poor indeed.
Not a classic tournament for my tips, with none making the top 7 (gutted) but I really don’t know how because some of them threatened to do so for the whole tournament. My tips were as follows Francesco Molinari (T-15th), Manassero (T-19th), Walker (T-26th), Spieth (T-36th) and Snedeker (T-58th). With the exclusion of Snedeker and Spieth the other three were there or there abouts the entire week but somehow not one of the three managed to crack that top 7 to return on an each way, sometimes that’s just the way of betting.
Anyway it was a pretty good Open, but imagine how great it could have been if McIlroy hadn’t pretty much ran away with it. The last round was excellent with so many players shooting well under par but in the end nobody was ever able to quite take that final step that put McIlroy under a big amount of pressure.
So what did you think of this year’s Open Championship? Did you think we got a deserving winner? Did you think that the crowd was too ill disciplined (what else do you expect from Scousers?)? Leave a comment and share your opinions!