Jason Day couldn't chase down runaway winner Brian Harman at The Open, but the Aussie golf star had a moment of magic to savour during brutal conditions in the final round at Royal Liverpool. Harman defied the incessant rain and wind, plus a couple of early hiccups to claim a six-stroke victory for the first major title of his career.
Day, like a host of other challengers, simply couldn't catch the American, who took a five-shot lead into the final round, before shooting a final-round 70 to finish at 13-under for the tournament to lift the Claret Jug. Day shot a two-under 69 to finish in a tie for second alongside Tom Kim, Sepp Straka and Jon Rahm, meaning the Queenslander joined an exclusive list of players to have runner-up finishes at all four majors.
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The 2015 PGA Championship winner joins golfing luminaries Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman, Louis Oosthuizen, Craig Wood and Dustin Johnson as just the ninth player in the game's history to be a runner-up at all four majors. The Queenslander also had a moment to savour in his final round after an extraordinary hole-out birdie described as "unbelievable" in commentary.
Day missed the green at the par-three ninth but delivered one of the shots of the day with a chip-in from 33 feet that flew over a bunker and rolled into the hole. Day's second straight birdie threatened a late charge from the Aussie and sent fans into raptures on social media.
Incredible from Jason Day.
Pitching prowess of the highest quality. pic.twitter.com/Wogo3eGibz
— The Open (@TheOpen) July 23, 2023
Thats an insane chip from Jason day
— Danny Jones (@Danny_Jones90) July 23, 2023
— Knights Templar (@pete2744) July 23, 2023
Jason Day thrilled with runner-up finish
While a resurgent Day couldn't add another major title to his collection, he couldn't hide his delight at finishing in a four-way tie for second at a rain-drenched Hoylake. "I am happy," Day, also runner-up at the Masters and US Open in 2011 and the PGA in 2016, said. "Considering my play over the last month and a bit hasn't been that great, and I didn't have the greatest confidence coming into this week, to be able to finish tied second was nice.
"Unfortunately, I hadn't played that great in the majors this year, so it was nice - just the slow, gradual increase in confidence through good play."
Day knew, like the rest of Harman's pursuers, that only a collapse of Greg Norman-like proportions from the American would give anyone else a chance to win, but he was still frustrated he didn't get a little closer after a final two-under round of 69 that featured four birdies and two bogeys. "I wish I would have cut into the lead a little bit more," he said.
"You just never know. When someone has such a great lead, and then you kind of cut into it, you just never know what they're going to do under the pump."
Brian Harman holds composure to lift Claret Jug
Harman was a 100-1 outsider going into The Open but despite having his five-shot final round lead reduced to three shots at stages, the American showed composure to clinch the Claret Jug. The American's nerves were tested with two bogeys in the opening five holes - a wayward approach on the second and a wild tee shot on the par-five fifth proving his undoing.
He bounced back immediately with a birdie, holing from 15 feet on the sixth to edge further clear. Another top-quality iron shot set up a birdie on the seventh, restoring Harman’s overnight cushion and effectively ending the championship as a contest. “It’s pretty surreal. It really hasn’t sunk in yet,” Harman said as he sat next to the Claret Jug in his post-event press conference. “I’m not going to let it out of my sight for the time-being.
Harman is just the third left-hander to win the Open after Bob Charles (1963) and Phil Mickelson (2013). He last tasted victory on the PGA Tour in 2017, the same year in which he led by one after 54 holes of the US Open before finishing second to Brooks Koepka.
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