Great St Andrews and Carnoustie Open rounds
The Alfred Dunhill Links is always one of the highlights of the season, with a packed field ready to take on two of the most historic courses in golf.
Championship courses Carnoustie and St Andrews are back in action, along with the notoriously scenic Kingsbarns, for four days of competition.
For some, it is a quick return to Carnoustie – scene of The 147th Open where Francesco Molinari reigned supreme – while St Andrews oozes history on every hole.
Both courses have helped provide so many memorable Open moments including these five rounds of excellence:
Francesco Molinari – Carnoustie 2018
Tiger Woods remains one of the most popular sportsman on the planet and commands a gallery that is double the size of nearly everyone else.
At Carnoustie this year he returned to contention in a Major for the first time since 2013 and led outright on Sunday afternoon.
Playing alongside him was Francesco Molinari, in many ways the lamb sent to slaughter in front of a partisan Woods crowd.
But the Italian was unflappable in the face of fierce winds, a roaring Tiger and an ever-changing leaderboard.
He was bogey-free through 13 holes and then put the hammer down while others fell away, birdieing the par-five 14th.
The strong wind was wreaking havoc down the stretch, with a par almost feeling like a birdie and by the time he reached the 18th he had one hand firmly on the Claret Jug.
With an expectant gallery now cheering him on, Molinari saved the best until last – with a birdie on the last all-but confirming victory.
Seve Ballesteros – St Andrews 1984
“I had my deepest emotional experience in my golfing life when I played in the 1984 Open at the cradle of golf, the Old Course at St Andrews.”
Seve Ballesteros achieved many things in his life but perhaps the greatest was winning The Open at St Andrews in 1984.
Thank you for the memories, Seve. pic.twitter.com/MkQXIKwjR9— The Open (@TheOpen) 9 April 2018
The Spaniard won a final day shoot-out against the likes of Tom Watson, Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples and Ian Baker-Finch for his second Open success – displaying all of his creativity and fight.
St Andrews has witnessed many classics down the years but few quite like that July Sunday in 1984.
It came down to Ballesteros and Watson and down the final stretch, they exchanged birdies at the 13th and 14th – increasing the pressure.
A stunning recovery shot on 17 helped him get out of trouble and he walked down 18 knowing he needed birdie to hold off Watson. In true Seve style, he nailed it.
“This was the happiest moment of my whole sporting life. My moment of glory, my most fantastic shot,” he later said.
Paul Lawrie – Carnoustie 1999
When Paul Lawrie teed off on the final Sunday of The Open in 1999, winning the Claret Jug must have been the last thing on his mind.
He started the day ten shots behind overnight leader Jean van de Velde, who had a five-shot lead on his nearest rivals. Surely everyone else was playing for second place.
What unfolded was one of the most dramatic afternoons in Open history. Carnoustie had played tough all week but on Sunday, the wind and rain tested everyone to the max.
Lawrie, from Aberdeen, was used to it – and revelled in it. He shot an incredible 67, nine shots better than his previous day’s effort while everyone else around him dropped shots routinely.
When he reached the clubhouse, victory was still a preposterous idea – but then the Barry Burn got in on the act.
The stream, which weaves its way across the last few holes, selected Jean van de Velde as its latest victim. A triple bogey on the last meant we had a three-way play-off – which Lawrie went on to win, becoming the first man to come from ten strokes back to win a major.
Rory McIlroy – St Andrews 2010
Just weeks after watching his great friend Graeme McDowell storm to victory at the US Open, Rory McIlroy arrived at St Andrews in 2010 in inspired form.
The famous Old Course was resplendent, the weather was calm and McIlroy cashed in – producing a stunning round of 63 to tie the record for lowest round in a Major.
The Northern Irishman was on it from the off, but it was his back nine that really astonished – he played the final ten holes at eight-under.
Unfortunately for him, the wind and rain arrived on Friday and he shot an 80 to fall out of contention.
But for those that were there, McIlroy’s 63 was perhaps the highlight of the entire Championship.
Ben Hogan – Carnoustie 1953
By the time Ben Hogan arrived at Carnoustie in 1953, his reputation as an eight-time major winner certainly preceded him. When he left, it had only grown.
Hogan was supported in his second round by Frank Sinatra and the two-time Masters champion certainly had everyone swinging by the end of his final round.
He arrived on Sunday morning in a share of the lead with Roberto De Vicenzo following a third-round 70, but took off on his own in the final round.
On this day in 1912, the legendary Ben Hogan was born 🎉— The Open (@TheOpen) 13 August 2018
Ahead of The 147th Open at Carnoustie, we sent @RickShielsPGA to Carnoustie and set him the challenge of hitting the narrow fairway of Hogan's Alley using one of Ben Hogan's clubs! 🏌️ pic.twitter.com/OyKRHXAWUa
He signed his card for a 68 – a new course record at Carnoustie – after a masterclass in iron-play and putting.
Hogan even managed to birdie the monstrous 565-yard par-five twice. For a player making his first, and only, Open appearance it was a superb performance.
Practice Day tickets are still available for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush in 2019 and remember, when you buy your tickets for The Open with Mastercard, you will receive a £5 discount per transaction.