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The 150th Open

Final days at St Andrews


The last seven on the Old Course

Seve Ballesteros celebrates his winning putt in The Open at St Andrews in 1984

There is nothing quite like the Sunday of an Open Championship at St Andrews.

No lead appears truly safe until the final putt has been sunk – as joint overnight leaders Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland will be well aware – and more drama is in store as The 150th Open reaches its conclusion.

From Seve to Zach via the Valley of Sin, let’s take a look back at the way the most recent Opens on the Old Course have concluded…

2015 – Johnson triumphs in play-off

The most recent final day on the Old Course started with three players tied for the lead on -12, including Irish amateur Paul Dunne – the first amateur to lead The Open after three rounds since 1927 – and Louis Oosthuizen, who had triumphed at the same venue five years earlier.

Only Oosthuizen remained at the summit 18 holes later, however, birdieing the 18th to join Zach Johnson and Marc Leishman, who had each carded 66s, in a four-hole play-off that would also have included Jordan Spieth had he not bogeyed the 17th.

Johnson recorded consecutive birdies at the 1st and 2nd to set the pace and all three dropped a shot at the Road Hole to ensure the American led by a shot going down the last. A par was enough for the 2007 Masters winner to add another major to his collection.

Zach Johnson win in a play-off to join an elite list on St Andrews Open winners, 2015

2010 – King Louis reigns supreme

Oosthuizen had a far less nerve-wracking Sunday in 2010, keeping his composure to finish seven shots clear.

Having begun the day with a four-shot lead over Paul Casey, Oosthuizen eagled the 9th before a decisive birdie at the 12th, combined with a Casey double bogey, left him in the clear.

Casey’s compatriot Lee Westwood ended as the South African’s nearest challenger, recording his best Open finish, but this was a Championship dominated by one man.

2005 – Tiger holds off Monty charge

Tiger Woods started Sunday at the summit, which was ominous for the chasing pack – Woods had done so on nine previous occasions in majors, including on the same course five years previously, and triumphed each time.

He saw that record reach double figures despite coming under pressure from home favourite Colin Montgomerie, who reached the turn within a shot of the lead.

But the Scot bogeyed at 10 and 13 to end his chances and Woods remained unflustered, closing out a round of 70 that was the only under-par score among the final 14 players and proved enough for him to lift another Claret Jug at the Old Course.

The best score on the final day was 68, recorded by both Duffy Waldorf and Fred Couples, the latter flying into a share of third.

Tiger Woods lifts the Claret Jug after winning The Open at St Andrews in 2005

2000 – Woods completes Grand Slam

Five years earlier, Woods had arrived at St Andrews needing a Claret Jug to complete his full set of majors.

A masterful first three days left him -16 going into Sunday’s showpiece and he was never threatened, with five shots as close as the margin got over the final 18.

He finished on -19, a major record, despite a bogey at 17, enough to finish eight clear of Thomas Bjorn and Ernie Els and secure the second leg in the notorious Tiger Slam.

1995 – Daly victorious after Rocca’s champagne moment

The 1995 Championship came to a thrilling conclusion and proved evidence as to how you can rarely take anything for granted at St Andrews.

John Daly was greenside with wife Paulette on the 18th, having taken advantage of overnight leader Michael Campbell’s slide to take a clubhouse lead on -6.

Campbell needed an eagle on the last to force a play-off, which he couldn’t manage, but his playing partner Constantino Rocca ensured there were to be four extra holes with a putt from the Valley of Sin that entered Open folklore.

The drama was only just beginning. Rocca picked out the Road Bunker on the 17th, the third hole of the play-off, and needed three shots to escape – a triple-bogey leaving Daly with one hand on the Claret Jug for the second time in the afternoon.

A par on the last was enough for the American to triumph by four and record his second major triumph.

John Daly wins The 124th Open beating Costantino Rocca in a play-off, 1995

1990 – Faldo holds firm

Nick Faldo was a model of consistency in 1990, sandwiching a 65 with two 67s to enter Sunday with a five-shot lead from Ian Baker-Finch and Payne Stewart.

The final round was a more pedestrian 71 but proved more than good enough to secure the second of his three Open wins.

Zimbabwean Mark McNulty was the Sunday star with a 65 which took him to a share of second, his opening-round 74 leaving him too much ground to make up on the eventual Champion Golfer.

1984 – Seve shines as Watson hits bump in the Road

The final day of the 1984 Championship provided one of golf’s most enduring images.

Seve Ballesteros went into Sunday trailing Ian Baker-Finch and Tom Watson by two shots but successfully put pressure on the final group by posting a three-under-par round of 69.

It was sealed by a birdie on the last, taking the Spaniard to -12 for the week and leading to the famous fist pump celebration on the 18th green.

Watson’s chances were ended by a bogey on 17, his card eventually reading 73, while Baker-Finch dropped to a share of ninth after a seven-over-par 79 on the last day.

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