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Spieth quells his disappointment to hail Open winner Johnson

By Kevin Garside

One of the first to congratulate Zach Johnson on his victory was the history slayer's principal victim, Jordan Spieth, which tells you an awful lot about the quality of golf required to win the Open Championship and the character of the vanquished.

"Wow. Almost. Nothing quite like the Open at St Andrews. We fought hard. Very proud of a role model and friend of mine, Zach Johnson," Spieth said in a Tweet after waiting by the 18th green to wrap an arm around his friend and the champion.

Spieth's attempt at a third major in a row came to grief at the 17th hole, the bogey costing him a place in the three-man play-off won by Johnson from Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman over four extra holes.

Johnson, a devout Christian from Iowa, began the final day three off the lead and required a birdie at the last to reach the play-off with a 66 for a 15-under-par total.

He revealed how reciting religious verse helped him race to a birdie-birdie start at holes one and two and close out with a par on his second visit of the day to the 18th after all three play-off contenders had bogeyed the Road Hole.

"It's Psalms 24:17, and it's "Be patient, wait for the Lord. Be courageous and brave. Yes, be patient, wait for the Lord." Just little things that help along the way. Gets me down to my priorities," he said.

Johnson, by his own admission is not one of the game's poster boys. " I'm just a guy from Iowa that has been blessed with a talent." He is more than that. The Open at St Andrews is added to the Masters won eight years ago. That takes some doing wherever you are from.

As good as it felt to win at Augusta in 2007 nothing tops this, according to Johnson. "It's a feat and an honour to be invited to those tournaments, and to win at Augusta and to win The Open Championship at St. Andrews, it's hard to put it into words.

"As a golfer, as an athlete, as a guy, I'm not rich in history, I can tell you that. I'm not a great historian. But I do know that this is the birthplace of a great game and a place that has fantastic fans."

Belfast Telegraph


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