THE OPEN

Epic rally earns Jordan Spieth Open title

Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth played one of the craziest stretch of holes in recent Open history to win the Claret Jug and achieve the third leg of the career grand slam.

The 23-year-old, who entered the final round three strokes ahead of Matt Kuchar, had his lead erased within the first four holes after three bogeys and, at times, the duel with Kuchar was tough to watch with both struggling to make pars in comparison to the birdie blitz at Royal Troon between Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson at the same stage last year.

However, it all came to life at the par-4 13th, with Spieth and Kuchar level on eight-under-par. Spieth's tee shot went so far right it was on the other side of the gigantic dunes and closer to the driving range than the fairway.

He took an unplayable lie from the driving range - yes, the driving range - and somehow got up and down for bogey. Now one behind Kuchar, it sparked Spieth into life.

Read more - Spieth's inspirational pep talk from caddie Greller

Spieth1

"The putt on 13 was massive," said Spieth. "Going two down and thinking, man I'm five-over, was crossing my mind. Instead, I was walking off the green and Michael said to me, 'That's a momentum shift right there', and he was dead on."

Spieth then went on a remarkable run of birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie, first stiffing his tee shot on the par-3 14th to 4ft to make birdie and an eagle followed on the par-5 15th, where he gestured to caddie Michael Greller to 'go get that' as his 30ft putt dropped into the hole.

Birdies arrived again at the 16th and 17th holes, giving Spieth a two-shot cushion over his Ryder Cup team-mate going down the 18th. He played it safe with an iron off the tee and, after Kuchar got into trouble in the greenside bunker, he safely two-putted for par to take the title by three.

Spieth is now just one leg away from the career grand slam, which he can achieve at the PGA Championship in three weeks' time.

Read more - Relive Spieth's 13th hole adventure in pics

Spieth

"It's incredible," said Spieth of his three major titles. "It's a life goal of mine to complete the career grand slam. Growing up playing golf, I just wanted to be able to play in major championships and compete with the best in the world, and things have happened very quickly.

"I'm going to thoroughly enjoy this. I look back on 2015 and thought yeah, I enjoyed it, but I never realised the significance of it until you kind of hit a low, hit a pitfall, to appreciate the high so much - and this is as much of a high I've ever experienced in my golfing life. I'm going to enjoy this more than anything I've accomplished in the past."

For Kuchar though, it was heartbreak. At 39, he is only too aware of how great a chance it was to break his major duck.

Read more - The Open 2017: Post Tournament Report Card

Kuch

"It's hard to explain - it's crushing," he said. "It hurts - but it's an excitement and a thrill to have put up such a battle. You work so hard to get to this position and you have a chance to make history and win a championship. You don't get many opportunities to do that and to be so close with five holes to go, it's hard to take.

"However, with five holes to play, I played the next four in two-under-par. I can only control how I play. Jordan is a great champion and certainly played that way in the finishing stretch.

"All you can really do is sit back, tip your cap and say well done. It was certainly a show he put on."

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