Southport - Jordan Spieth was relieved to avoid a repeat of
his dramatic collapse at last year's Masters as he survived a nervous afternoon
to win the British Open at Royal Birkdale on Sunday.
Spieth shot a one-under-par round of 69 to finish on 12
under par and beat Matt Kuchar by three strokes, but at one point it looked as
though he would throw it away.
Having been three ahead overnight, he was a shot behind
after a wayward drive led to a bogey at the 13th, only to claim three birdies
and an eagle in the next four holes and see off Kuchar.
"Boy, this was eventful. Seventeen pars and a birdie
would have been fine, too. But there's a lot of roads to get there," he
said as he praised his caddie Michael Greller.
"I was put in a tough one early on and showed some
resiliency and give a lot of credit to my guy on the bag for that.
"Because as you can imagine, thoughts come in from my
last scenario when I was leading a major on Sunday. I never mentioned it, but
all of a sudden it creeps into your head."
Spieth had been five shots clear at the turn on the last day
at Augusta in 2016 only to go six-over through the next three holes and lose
out to Danny Willett.
"I was so confident and all of a sudden, the wheels
have kind of come off everything. And how do we get back on track to salvage
this round and just give yourself a chance at the end. It took a bogey to do
so," he said of his efforts at the par-four 13th.
After that he nearly holed his tee shot at the 14th hole as
the momentum swung back his way.
"All of a sudden I felt and believed that I could win
that golf tournament, when 30 minutes prior and really the entire day after the
fourth hole I didn't feel that way," said the American.
This is his third major title after winning the Masters and
US Open in 2015.
His victory meant there would be no first major for Kuchar,
but Spieth praised his fellow American.
"I believe Matt Kuchar will win a major championship.
And I believe that he'll do it sometime soon."
Kuchar, who had been the joint leader with Spieth after the
opening round, shot a final round of 69, which could have been better but for a
bogey at the last.
He still secured a best-ever finish at a major, bettering
his third place at the Masters in 2012, but he could not hide his anguish at
"It's crushing. It hurts. And it's an excitement and a
thrill to have played well, put up a battle, put up a fight," Kuchar said.
"You work so hard to get to this position. And to have
a chance to make history and win a championship. You don't get that many
"And to be this close, to taste it with five holes to
go, it's a hard one to sit back and take."
He added: "Jordan is a great champion and certainly
played that way in the finishing stretch today.
"It was impressive stuff when a guy does something like
that. All you can really do is sit back, tip your cap and say, 'well done.' And
it was certainly a show that he put on."