For the 2nd straight major, a Northern Irishman was holding the trophy. After 22 year-old Rory McIlroy dominated at the U.S. Open, 42 year-old Darren Clarke captured the British Open for the first major of his career. Clarke’s final total of 5-under, was three shots clear of Americans Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson.
Mickelson came out like a man possessed early on. Phil started the day at even par, but made birdies at 2, 4, and 6 to get to minus 3. At the par 5 7th, Lefty sunk an eagle putt that put him in a tie for the lead at 5-under par. Unfortunately for Mickelson, that was the last time he would be in the lead.
Clarke went on to eagle the 7th hole as well to distance himself from the field. After Dustin Johnson cut the lead to 2 strokes, he hit his approach shot on 14 tout of bounds, ending his Open chances. Clarke cruised in the rest of the way and Mickelson made bogey after bogey on his second nine, falling 3 shots short.
1. Clarke (-5)
T-2. Johnson (-2)
T-2. Mickelson (-2)
4. Bjorn (-1)
T-5. Fowler (E)
T-5. Campbell (E)
T-5. Kim (E)
Northern Ireland had gone 63 years without a major. Now it has three of the last six — Graeme McDowell in the U.S. Open last year at Pebble Beach, followed by Rory McIlroy at the U.S. Open. No golfer had ever gone more than 15 tries before eventually winning the Claret Jug. This was Clarke’s 20th.
When asked if he was going to celebrate tonight, Clarke promised that the celebration would be “long”, “And I’ll be very, very hung over,” he said.
Congrats Darren. Cheers!