The Open 2015: Zach Johnson's win in pictures and quotesJuly 20, 2015 Golf News
A thrilling Monday finish to the Open at St Andrews in pictures and quotes
Zach Johnson is the Champion Golfer of the Year for 2015 after a thrilling final round saw him eventually beat Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman in a play-off.
It was a final day where you simply couldn’t take your eyes of the leaderboard and were unsure who was going to win right up until the 76th hole.
A host of big names played their part in a memorable Monday afternoon at St Andrews.
Here’s how the action unfolded.
There were a few big putts made by Zach Jonson during his final round of 66 and he also holed on the first and second play-off holes.
But the fact he was able to escape 17 with just a bogey during the play-off was huge.
Johnson said: “I feel blessed to be the champion, I feel honoured to part of the history of this game and to don my name on that trophy, especially with the names before me. Humbling and surreal are two words that come to mind.
“I can’t play any better than I did. I had a lull on Friday and Saturday, but nothing significant, but stayed in it and waited for the opportunities and made a few.”
It was agony for Louis Oosthuizen who needed to make a 15ft birdie putt on the 18th to force the four-hole play-off into sudden death.
The 2010 winner had made a birdie on 18 in regulation play to join Johnson and Marc Leishman on -15 but just came up short on the 76th hole.
Oosthuizen said: “I love it round here. I’m disappointed to miss a couple of putts but I’ve played really well.
“I think I did really well getting in the playoff. I had four three-putts today, but it was quite lengthy ones to start off, and I putted beautifully the whole week. I made good putts today. I made great putts coming in to be in the playoff, and you know, misread 17 and 18.
“I had two good putts there exactly where I wanted to, so there’s not much more that I could have done on that. I think it was crucial today, the front nine you could see everyone was scoring on the front nine, I went through in 2-under, and that back nine was tough. When we made the turn on 12 – St Andrews showed its teeth.”
Australian Leishman had only made the cut by one shot and came close to winning the event outright.
He had a birdie putt on 17 which just missed and it could have allowed him to make par for the win on 18 and shoot 64, 65 – the lowest second 36-hole effort in Open Championship history.
Leishman was always playing catch-up in the play-off after bogeying the first extra hole.
He said: “Obviously pretty disappointed at the minute, having a chance to win it and not being able to take it, but that’s golf, unfortunately. There was three of us in the playoff and there could only be one winner.
“Yeah, I’m disappointed, but I’m happy with the way I played all week, played great Thursday, Friday in the wind and then played good the last two days in the better conditions. Pretty disappointed with that bogey on 16, but apart from that, it was pretty good golf.”
Jordan Spieth was disappointed he couldn’t make birdie on 18 and get to -15 but the fact he had a chance to keep his historic grand slam dream going on the 72nd hole was a great effort.
A missed putt on 17 then failing to get up and down at the last meant he had to settle for a share of fourth place.
Spieth said: “17 was as hard a par four as we’ve played all year.
“All of a sudden, on my second shot, it started raining. It was something like 240-yards to the green and a tough little lie. I was trying to sting a 3-iron. I didn’t leave it in a bad spot when I missed the green, but I couldn’t make par.”
“On 18 it was just a very poorly placed drive and I was not able to hit my lob wedge in there when I needed to have great control.
“Who would have thought a drive on 18 was going to be what really hurt me at the end here? It’s kind of hard not to hit a good one there.”
Jason Day was another player with his head in his hands after leaving his birdie putt short on 18.
It would have taken the Australian into the play-off but the wait for a maiden major continues for the 27-year-old.
He said: “I gave myself chances out there. A couple of holes I wish I would have liked some shots back, but that’s just part and parcel of playing.
“Could have had some shots back early in my tournament, as well, but you know, I read the putt on 18, just to do what I expected it to do.
“I hit a good putt. All I wanted to do was put a good stroke on it. I didn’t want to blast it way past the hole and hit it through the break, so I just wanted to hit my normal putt and try and hole it.
“Unfortunately I thought it was a little bit faster, and it just pulled up short.”
Danny Willett produced his best-ever performance in a Major and was looking very good at one stage.
The Yorkshireman birdied four in a row to reach -12 by the 14th but his third bogey of the week on 17 ended his challenge.
He said: “We’ve been right up there in contention pretty much from the get-go. And I playing some good golf. We had a little bit of a stale spell with the putter yesterday and then obviously the front nine today and it kind of cost us
“It’s been good. Obviously finished 15th at Muirfield a couple years back. We’ve had some decent finishes along the way.
“Being in contention all week has been nice, kind of being around the mix and in the last few groups is always that much better.”
At one stage Sergio Garcia was definitely in the conversation.
He reached -14 with a birdie on the 10th but dropped three shots coming home to join Willett and Justin Rose in a tie for sixth.
Garcia said: “I started really well. Obviously the front nine was the one to go after, and up until 10, which was – yeah, the front end was where you wanted to go after it because it was playing a little bit easier.
“It was going to be really, really difficult, and some holes pars were tough. Obviously a couple little putts on 13 and 17, but really, to me I feel like a lot of things had to go my way to finish 15 or 16 under because it was playing really, really tough.
“I would love to finish a couple better, but I’m still happy with the week.”
Adam Scott was another who was looking very dangerous at one stage. But you always knew the Old Course was going to bite on the back nine.
The 2012 runner-up reached -15 by the 10th but dropped five shots in his closing five holes including a double at the last after going out of bounds.
Scott said: “I probably needed a really good back nine, and I had a really poor back nine.
“The back nine was going to play tough, and I was going to have to go pretty much mistake-free, I thought, to shooting maybe par or 1-under, and far from that in the end.
“I did what I had to do the first 10. I was 6-under and I tied for the lead. I kind of leveled myself with where everyone was at, and that’s exactly what I had to do. And I knew from that point on, I was just going to have to play a great nine holes to have a shot at it.
“I felt that was even to 1- or 2-under, really, from that point. It was always going to be tough. It was playing really tough at times, straight into the wind, playing long, and I made my mistake on 14 with a poor shot in there and compounded that continuously coming in.”