The greatest Carnoustie rounds
The final day of The 147th Open is here and a slew of players are still in contention to lift the Claret Jug later this evening.
To earn the title of 2018 Champion Golfer of the Year, the winner will need to hold their nerve and play a sparkling 18 holes of golf.
Carnoustie has produced incredible drama down the years and to get you in the mood for an inevitably scintillating conclusion, we’ve picked out five of the most memorable rounds from the archive that the players today could do with replicating.
Tommy Armour – 1931
The Open headed to Carnoustie for the first time for its 66th edition in 1931 and the drama could not have been any higher as Tommy Armour outlasted Argentine Jose Jurado to clinch his only Open title.
Sir Henry Cotton and Jurado had been neck-and-neck heading into the final day’s play, with Armour just a shot back, but the Edinburgh-born golfer then shot 77 in Friday morning’s third round to fall five strokes behind the South American.
Yet in the final round that afternoon, the Silver Scot produced some superb iron play to put him right in the mix ahead of the last few holes.
But it was his sensational putt at the 16th, following two poor approach shots, that stole the show and swung the pendulum in his favour.
Two difficult pars helped Armour finish strongly and nail the course record with a remarkable 71, ultimately enough to finish one shot clear of Jurado.
Sir Henry Cotton – 1937
The Open returned to Carnoustie six years later where Cotton would claim glory with one of the greatest rounds of golf The Open has ever seen.
In driving rain and adverse conditions, many players struggled to find their natural rhythm on the Angus links.
Not Cotton, who produced a magnificent final round of 71 to clinch his second Open crown against the odds and the elements.
The English golfer was in sensational form on the greens especially, only requiring a measly 26 putts for the entirety of his final round.
That round left at Cotton two over par and two shots clear of third-round leader Reg Whitcombe, who could only managed a 76 – showing just how good Cotton’s round was.
Ben Hogan – 1953
Ben Hogan’s one and only appearance at The Open was extraordinary from start to finish – concluding his time at Carnoustie with the Claret Jug and a course record to boot.
The American struck a third round of 70 to tie the lead with Roberto De Vincenzo heading into the final 18 but Hogan was only just getting started, as a neat chip in at the fifth was followed up by a second straight birdie at the sixth.
So legendary was his round that the sixth hole on the Championship course was named Hogan’s Alley in 2003, after the American drove precisely between the bunkers and the out of bounds on the left in all four rounds.
Opening up a two-shot lead at the 13th, Hogan was in scintillating form, saving par on the 17th before another birdie at 18 gave him a course-record 68 as he ended the round four shots clear of a quartet of opponents.
Hogan never returned to The Open but his exceedingly rare achievement of improving in every round in 1953 (going 73-71-70-68) would be talked about for many years to come.
Tom Watson – 1975
The Kansas golfer notched up five Opens in nine years but his first came on debut at Carnoustie in 1975.
The 25-year-old made history to win his first ever major in enthralling circumstances, as he triumphed in a dramatic play-off round with Jack Newton after nailing an incredible 20-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to tie the Australian at nine-under.
The would be the last time an Open was decided by an 18-hole play-off – with Watson nervelessly carding a 71 to lift the Claret Jug.
The future five-time Champion Golfer’s defining moment came on the 14th when he sensationally chipped in for an eagle to take the lead.
Watson held his nerve to par the final hole for a one-under 71 but Newton could not follow suit and The Open was heading across the pond after one of the all-time great showdowns.
Tommy Fleetwood - 2017
Paul Lawrie, Colin Montgomerie and Alan Tait are amongst the golfing giants that laid claim to the Carnoustie course record until October 6, 2017, when a certain Tommy Fleetwood rumbled into town for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Just days after becoming a father for the first time, the 26-year-old carded the first-ever 63 on the Angus links and a place in history was his.
The Englishman made an impressive five straight birdies on the back nine to give himself a chance at Carnoustie history.
Steadying himself on the 18th, Fleetwood made the final putt from 12 feet for a three to claim a place in the record books.
Remarkably, the four-time European Tour winner is now in sole possession of the Carnoustie record as well as producing the joint-best ever 18 at the Old Course at St Andrews’ with a 62.
Less than a year on from that memorable round, Fleetwood is still in the hunt to lift a maiden Claret Jug today, if he can reproduce that form from last October.
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