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The 151st Open

Stars of Hoylake


A host of players enjoyed a memorable week at The 151st Open

Sepp Straka during The 151st Open

Brian Harman was the main protagonist of The 151st Open, winning the Claret Jug by an impressive six-stroke margin.

The American seized the initiative on Friday morning and dominated proceedings thereafter. It earned him a maiden major title and the plaudits that came with it.

But there were a number of other golfers who caught the eye at Royal Liverpool, including Travis Smyth, who produced the first hole-in-one on Hoylake’s new 17th hole.

And here we take a closer look at the stand-out performers from a memorable week on the Wirral Peninsula.

Tom Kim during The Open at Royal Liverpool in 2023

Tom Kim

Tom Kim announced himself to the world with his third-place finish at the Genesis Scottish Open, almost exactly 12 months ago.

He continued to make a name for himself over the next six months, becoming the youngest two-time PGA Tour winner in the past 90 years.

Such is his prodigious talent, a T2 finish at The Open shouldn’t be a huge surprise – but it is all the more impressive given the circumstances.

The South Korean suffered a grade one tear in his ankle after slipping in his accommodation last Thursday night, following a three-over-par opening round. Kim considered withdrawing, but eventually soldiered on to compile three outstanding rounds.

Nobody would have guessed anything was amiss as Kim found four birdies on the front nine in round two, on his way to levelling up his score for the week. He followed that with a three-under-par Saturday to move nicely through the field.

Momentum was halted when he bogeyed the first two holes of the final round, but he quickly got those back with an eagle on 5 and added two more birdies by the turn. Nobody shot a better score on Sunday than Kim’s 67.

He said: “Obviously having the season last year, your expectations go more up and you kind of feel like you're supposed to play like that all the time.

“But it's been a time where I put things a lot in perspective. This is just a learning curve, this is my first full year out [on Tour].

“I put a lot of work in this year trying to get back to that feeling of kind of contending in big events and it's kind of nice to see the fruits coming to life.”

Sepp Straka

If Sepp Straka had been under the radar before last week, he is well and truly in the limelight now.

His name might not have been on the lips of many casual golf observers on the eve of The Open, but the signs were there that this 30-year-old is a player not to be ignored.

The talented Austrian has been making moves on the PGA Tour, winning the John Deere Classic at the beginning of July which included an incredible final-round score of 62. This victory came just two months after he finished T7 at the PGA Championship.

So it should not have come as a shock when he finished T2 at Royal Liverpool. He posted three under-par rounds on his way to a final tally of seven-under-par, but the stand-out stretch was his back nine on Friday when he sank six birdies in the final seven holes.

He said: “I kind of like to fly under the radar a little bit. It's kind of my style.

“I've not had a whole lot of success with links golf in the past and I haven't had a lot of experience, so being able to take kind of my best game into links golf, I was able to gain a lot of experience, and yeah, really happy to have a good week here.

“I think my ball-striking has improved a lot over the last year. It's gotten a little more consistent, so I've been able to kind of show up with my best game a couple more times.”

Matthew Jordan celebrates after birdieing the 18th hole at Royal Liverpool during The 151st Open

Matthew Jordan

With the exception of Harman, The 151st Open was all about one man; Matthew Jordan.

A Royal Liverpool member since the age of seven, this truly was a homecoming in every sense of the word – and Jordan produced a performance befitting a prodigal son.

He was given the honour of hitting the first tee shot on Thursday, and the grandstand at the first hole was at full capacity – at 6:35am. Jordan holed the first birdie of the Championship, at the fifth, as he produced a tidy two-under-par first round to sit just three off the lead.

He made the cut despite an over-par Friday and things appeared to be unravelling until an inspired turn of form saw him birdie four of the last five holes on Saturday afternoon. A solid final round ensured a T10 finish, and it was capped off in fairytale style with a birdie on the 18th.

He said: “This [was] the best. This [was] hands down the best. I think I even probably said that after the first round. It's just been that good.

“It obviously helps when you're playing so well, but just the way everything kind of [came] together and how the week [went] in terms of I had the first tee shot, doing that on the last. As a whole, apart from winning it, I can't imagine it being much better.”

Shubhankar Sharma

Shubhankar Sharma

Shubhankar Sharma recorded the best result by an Indian golfer at The Open after finishing T8.

The key to the 27-year-old’s historic run was his consistency as rounds of 68-71-70-70 had him among the leaders all week.

An eagle on the par-5 fifth in round three was the highlight of an impressive campaign, although Sharma – who finished T51 on both his previous Open appearances – takes particular delight in the way he finished.

He was the only player to enjoy a bogey-free Sunday in what he labelled “probably the best round of golf that I have ever played in my life”.

Sharma continued: “I don’t like to talk much about my own game, but I am very proud of what I managed to accomplish.”

Emiliano Grillo during The 151st Open

Emiliano Grillo

Emiliano Grillo is another on our list who posted their best week at The Open, finishing T6 with Rory McIlroy on six-under.

The Argentinian found five birdies on the back nine to end round one with a share of the lead alongside Tommy Fleetwood and Christo Lamprecht on five-under-par. Not a bad result for someone who was two-over after three.

Grillo only made it to Royal Liverpool by winning the Charles Schwab Challenge at the end of May. This victory lifted him from 80th in the world to 42nd on the very day the top 50 earned exemptions to The Open.

“This is definitely one of my favourites,” he said of golf’s original Championship.

“I look forward to playing The Open or links golf courses. I look forward to play it every year.”

Michael Stewart at The 151st Open

Michael Stewart

If Hollywood were to make a movie out of one storyline from this year’s Open, there’s a good chance Michael Stewart would be joining the likes of Tom Cruise and Leonardo DiCaprio on the red carpet.

A four-over-par tally, which meant a tie for 52nd place, doesn’t do the revitalised Scot justice.

Stewart contemplated giving up golf altogether during the Covid-19 pandemic, when he took up a job at a hand sanitiser firm. But his new colleagues allowed him to attend the Tartan Pro Tour and he was then eligible to play at Q-school, at which he regained his Tour card.

And he hasn’t looked back since.

That he was five-over-par for his final round speaks volumes of how well he played over the first three days – he was just two shots off the lead after the opening round and at one stage on Saturday he was tied for third.

Stewart said: “This is as good as it gets and once you experience it... I want to be on this stage.

“And I want to be at Troon next year, but I don't want it to be my only goal. I want more of this.”