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Thursday 8 December 2016

Zach Johnson survives epic battle to win the British Open

No joy for Harrington or Dunne at St Andrews

USA's Zach Johnson celebrates with the Claret Jug after winning The Open Championship at St Andrews, Fife
USA's Zach Johnson celebrates with the Claret Jug after winning The Open Championship at St Andrews, Fife

Zach Johnson defeated Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman in a play-off for the Open Championship yesterday after Jordan Spieth agonisingly failed to keep his grand slam dream alive.

Irish amateur Paul Dunne, who was joint leader coming into the final round, saw his hopes fade from early on. He finished with a disappointing 78.

Padraig Harrington also saw his title challenge slip away, despite birdies on the first two holes, and ended with a 75.

Spieth needed a birdie on the 18th hole at St Andrews to join the four-hole aggregate play-off, but saw his approach spin back off the green into the Valley of Sin and narrowly missed the birdie attempt.

READ MORE: Zach's title after epic duel

Johnson had set the clubhouse target on 15 under after a closing 66 that was matched 40 minutes later by Leishman. Oosthuizen birdied the 18th from five feet to make it a three-way aggregate play-off on the first, second, 17th and 18th.

Johnson and Oosthuizen both birdied the first as Leishman three-putted and Johnson edged ahead with another birdie on the second.

All three bogeyed the 17th and after Johnson missed his birdie attempt on the 18th, Oosthuizen's attempt from 12 feet also missed to give Johnson his second major title, eight years after victory in the Masters.

Johnson said: "I feel blessed to be champion, I feel honoured to part of the history of this game and to don my name on that trophy, especially with the names before me. Humbling and surreal are words that come to mind."

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