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A Quick Recap of the 2021 Golf Open Championship

The Open Championship

The British Open is not only one of the most illustrious tournaments in golf, but it also has significant historical value. The competition is held in Scotland, which is the birthplace of the modern game, and home of many of the early pioneers of the game. The Open was launched in 1860 and was played at the Prestwick Golf Club in Ayrshire. It has run ever since, with the exception of 1871, when the tournament was cancelled because there was no trophy to award to the winner.

The British Open works using the same structure as the other major events in golf. The tournament starts with a field of 156 players, who will receive an invitation to the competition according to their rankings in the Official World Golf Ranking, by being a past winner of the Open, through their performances in the other major tournaments, or on the tour. There are also a number of qualifying rounds, by which lower ranking players or amateurs can also secure invitations.

The British Open uses stroke play, as opposed to match play. This basically means that the players are ranked by their overall strokes, and not by each hole. The contestants are placed into groups of three, where they have to play 36 holes over the course of two days. After the first two days, there is a cut, and only the top 70 will proceed to the last two days. On the last two days, the remaining players have to complete 36 more holes, and at the end, the player who finishes the tournament with the least number of strokes wins. If there is a tie between two or more players, then a three hole aggregate is played, and if the scores are still tied, there is a sudden death round.

2021 British Open

The 2021 Open Championship was played between 15-18 July, at Royal St George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, England. In 2020, the tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic, the second time the tournament was cancelled for the second time in its history.

First Round

Louis Oosthuizen took the lead after the first round, with a score of 64. The South African, who had previously won the competition in 2010 and was a runner up in his last two majors, made a great start with seven straight pars and six birdies. He reached 64 without making a bogey, and put himself one shot clear of the next two. Americans Brian Harman and Jordan Spieth both had 65 shots each. Spieth was one over in the round, but managed to shoot four straight birdies, putting him five under.

Five golfers scored four under: Stewart Cink, the 2009 Open Championship winner, Dylan Fritelli, Benjamin Hebert, Mackenize Hughes, and Webb Simpson. Ten golfers took 67 shots, going three under, including five English golfers. The 2019 runner up, Tommy Fleetwood, An Byeong-hun, Justin Harding, Collin Morikawa, Justin Rose, Scottie Scheffler, Jack Senior, Marcel Siem, Andy Sullivan, and Danny Willett. Shane Lowry, the defending champion, had one-over 71, tying with Darren Clarke, who had won the Open in 2011. Lin Yuxin took 69 shots, making him the lead amateur golfer.

Second Round and the Cut

In the second round, Oosthuizen set a record by taking only 65 shots, making his score 64-65 = 129. He scored birdies on the 12th and 13th hole and then eagled the 14th to go six under. He then bogeyed the 16th before finishing with pars on the final two holes. His score of 129 broke the previous record by one shot, which was first set in 1992 by Nick Faldo, and then equalled in 2012 by Brandt Snedeker.

Morikawa, a 24-year-old golfer from the US, took only 64 shots to finish to make a score of 67-64 = 131, or nine-under. He made seven birdies and only one bogey on the day. Jordan Spieth took 67 shots to make a score of 65-67 = 132, or eight under, to take third place. Dylan Fritelli, Dustin Johnson, and Scottie Schefler managed to improve their scores, as all three made under seven. In the shared seventh place, Hardin, Siem, and Sullivan all managed to finish the second round in as many shots as the first round, with scores of 67-67 = 134. Daniel van Tonder also managed to tie for seventh place with a score of 68-66 = 134. Argentine golfer Emiliano Grillo turned around his poor start of 70 by taking only 64 shots to finish the second round, tying for seventh place as well.

Third Round

Oosthuizen kept his lead in the third round, finishing with a score of 64-65-69 = 198, or twelve under par. He started the round with six pars before improving his score with a birdie on the seventh and ninth holes. He missed the green with his tee shot in the 11th hole, making his first bogey in the round. On the thirteenth, he made his second bogey after failing to score a chip shot. He still made a birdie on the 16th to finish the round in first place.

Morikawa managed to close the gap on Oosthuizen from 2 to 1, with a score of 67-64-68 = 199. He was two over par after the first five holes, but he then made consecutive birdies on the seventh and eight holes. He made two more birdies in the 13th and 14th holes and ended the round with two under par, to put his overall score to 11 under par.

Spieth finished the third round in third place again, with a score of 65-67-69 = 201, still three shots behind the leader. He made a determined start, scoring five birdies in the first 10 holes, to tie for first place with Morikawa and Oosthuizen. He then dropped off, making a bogey in the 11th and then risking a shot over the green in the 17th, he failed and made another bogey. He missed a putt for a birdie on the 18th to finish with a score of nine under par.

Corey Connors made a score of 68-68-66 = 202, to go eight under par and tie with Scheffler, who kept in fourth place after scoring 67-66-69. Hughes and Frittelli were joined in sixth place by Jon Rahm, who had managed to climb up to a score of seven under after having a pretty poor start in the first round. The Spaniard finished the third round with a score of 71-64-68 = 203. Harding and Siem managed to retain their places in the top ten; surprisingly the two had exactly the same score of 67-67-70 = 204. They were in joint ninth place with Cameron Smith, who had also made six under par.

Fourth Round

In the final round, Morikawa started with one shot off the leader, Oosthuizen. Morikawa made six straight pars, and then made a birdie in the seventh and 25 foot putt birdie in the eight. He finished his front nine with a third consecutive birdie. He made another long ranged birdie putt on the 14th and managed to make a par on the 15th. He finished the tournament with 15 under par.

Spieth, looking to win his second Open title, began the round poorly, standing at two over before eagling the seventh and playing the 7th through 14th holes with a score of six under par. He came within one shot of Morikawa, but was not able to close the gap as he finished with four pars. He scored 13 under par.

Oosthuizen, who had led the first three rounds, suddenly had a stroke of bad luck after making bogeys on the fourth and seventh holes. These significantly damaged his hopes of winning, and though he managed to make a birdie in the 11th, it was not enough for him to reclaim his lead. He finished with a score of 11 under par, tying with Rahm.

Rahm had managed to put himself into the top 10 only in the third round, and then in the last round he eagled the seventh and made four straight birdies on his back nine, to leap up into third place.

Frittelli made fifth place with a score of nine under par. In joint sixth place, Hughes and Brooks Koepka made a score of eight under par. Koepka had not started the competition poorly, but he was always a step behind the top ten, until the final round. His score was 69-66-72-65. In the final round, he had the lowest score amongst the top 10.

Joint in eight place, Daniel Berger, Dustin Johnson, Robert MacIntyre, and Scottie Scheffler all finished with a score of seven under par.

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