Brian Harman gets his first major title, the British Open.
Brian Harman gets his first major title, the British Open.

Brian Harman beat big names and bad weather to win the British Open. He joined the list of major winners on Sunday at Royal Liverpool with a win that was never really in question.

Harman made two birdies right after a rare mistake, which put everyone else in a tie for second. He finished with a 1-under 70 and won by six shots by making an 8-foot par putt on the last hole.

At age 36, he is the oldest golfer to win a major for the first time since Sergio Garcia won the Masters at age 37 in 2017.

Garcia did not come as a shock. At the beginning of the week, not many people would have predicted this win. Before winning the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship, it had been six years and 167 events since Harman’s last victory. In his 12 years on the PGA Tour, this is only his third win.

Then, the outdoorsman made it look as easy as shooting fish in a barrel for him to win golf’s oldest title.

Masters winner Jon Rahm birdied his last hole for a score of 70, tying him with Tom Kim (67), Sepp Straka (69), and Jason Day (69) for second place.

In the end, that was the B-flight.

Rahm said, “He won by six, so there wasn’t much any of us could have done.”

On Friday morning, Harman took the lead when he made his second of four straight birdies in the first part of the second round. Over the last 51 holes, he never fell behind. After the second round and the third round, he was ahead by five shots each time.

Fans in the bleachers booed him as he started the round in the rain, either because they wanted a big star or didn’t pay attention to Harman’s masterful performance. Harman said that while he was playing with Englishman Tommy Fleetwood on Saturday, he heard a few words that he couldn’t repeat.

But he has Georgia grit and never gives up in the rain, sun, or wind.

As he walked up to the 18th green, the crowd stood up and cheered. As he left the green, he tapped his hand to his heart to thank the crowd. All he had to do was sign his card with a score of 13-under 271 and go back to get the silver claret jug, which is the oldest prize in golf.

The best golf player of the year was Brian Harman. Think about that.

Harman said, “I think I’ll have a couple of pints out of this trophy.”

Even though there wasn’t any action, the ending was right. Harman hit his 194-yard approach shot into a pot bunker to the right of the 18th green. This was only the third time in 72 holes that he was in a bunker. This is the most important part of Royal Liverpool. And he made the putt, which brought his score for the week to 106.

Harman said, “I doubled down on my process, and I know it’s boring and not exciting.” “But I hadn’t thought about winning the tournament until I hit that last bunker shot.”

In a steady rain early on Sunday, there was one scary moment. On the par-5 fifth hole, Harman hit his shot into a gorse bush to the left of the fairway. He had to take a penalty drop. He made his second bogey of the round because of it.

Rahm was in the group ahead of him, and he tried to get one of those breaks that big winners often get. His drive went between two trees, giving him a chance to make a shot just short of the green and get a par.

It was only three shots ahead. Rain kept coming down. He still had to play the rest of the links and deal with the pressure that comes with Sunday at a major.

Harman made a 15-foot putt for a birdie on the par-3 sixth hole and a 25-foot putt for a birdie on the next hole, and then he was on his way.

On the par-3 13th hole, he lost another shot, which cut his lead to four shots with five holes left. Then, he made a birdie from 40 feet on the hard 14th hole, and then he made another birdie from 8 feet on the 15th hole.

Rory McIlro

who won the Scottish Open last week and was the last Open winner at Royal Liverpool in 2014, had more bad luck at the end of the year. He was never really important, but he did make fun of the big crowds that followed him.

Sunday wasn’t any different. McIlroy was nine shots behind when he started, but he made three straight birdies, the first of which was a 50-foot putt on the third hole. He was still on the front nine and only five shots away from the hole. Then he slowed down and didn’t make another birdie until Harman was well ahead.

With scores of 71, 70, 69, and 68, McIlroy and Emiliano Grillo (68) tied for sixth place. That wasn’t even close to good enough to match what Harman did.

McIlroy

who hasn’t won a major since 2014, said, “I’m optimistic about the future and just have to keep working hard.”

Last year’s runner-up at St. Andrews, Cameron Young, was in the final group with Harman and never put him under any pressure. On the first hole, he hit a chip that went off the side of the green and made bogey. He also missed a lot of putts inside 10 feet.

He finished with a 73, which tied him for eighth place with Shubhankar Sharma of India, whose round of 70 included 17 pars and one birdie.

Harman can now play in all the majors for the next five years and joins McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Bobby Jones, and Walter Hagen, who have all won the Open at Hoylake.

He can also think about going back to Europe for the Ryder Cup in Rome in September. The win, which earned him $3 million, moved him up to No. 3 in the rankings. In a month, the top six will immediately qualify.

Harman has never been in either the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup. He goes up 10 spots in the world rankings. He looked the part at Royal Liverpool for four days.

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