2009 British Open Golf Championship
It was a welcome return to the Turnberry Links for the 2009 Open Championship, the venue that hosted the famous ‘duel in the sun’ in 1977 between the winner that year, Tom Watson and the ‘Golden Bear’ Jack Nicklaus and which also saw the brilliant Aussie, Greg Norman win the first of his two ‘Opens’ in 1994.
Much to everyone’s amazement, Watson at the ripe old age of 59 was to be the ‘star of the show’ once again in 2009, although ultimately he would eventually lose in a Play-Off with compatriot, Stewart Cink.
Watson fired a very impressive first round of 65, which put him in a share of second place, alongside former champion, Ben Curtis and Japanese player, Kenichi Kuboya; they all finished one behind leader, Miguel Angel Jiminez of Spain. Cink was one of five players who shot 66 to be two shots off the lead.
By the end of the second round, Watson found himself sharing the lead on five under with relatively unknown American, Steve Marino. It was clear that the veteran had become the talk of Turnberry by this time as he managed to get round in alevel par of 70 and was playing exceptionally well. Another former Open Champion, Mark Calcavecchia was a shot back, while England’s Ross Fisher had moved to 3 under and shared 4th place with Jiminez, who fired a 73, Kuboya, Reteif Goosen, and yet another former Open Champion, Vijay Singh. Cink, who fired a 72 was in a tie for 9th place, three shots off the lead.
The situation became seriously exciting by the end of the third round which saw the Bookmakers rapidly revising their original odds on Watson as he finished the day as the Open Championship leader. With an excellent round of 71, Watson had seen off Marino and now led on his own at 4 under par and was one shot clear of Fisher and Australian, Matthew Goggin. A shot further back was Lee Westwood and Retief Goosen, while Cink along with fellow American, Jim Furyk were three off the lead at one under.
During the final round, Ross Fisher with birdies at the opening two holes snatched the lead from Watson, who had two bogeys in the three holes. However, Fisher, destroyed any chance he had of winning with a quadruple bogey on the par 4 eighth hole. Meanwhile, Westwood was putting a good round together and it was he, Watson, who had recovered from his early setbacks and rookie Englishman, Chris Wood , who vied for the lead at around the 2 under mark.
Cink became the clubhouse leader at two under after birdying the final hole, but Westwood blew his chances with bogeys at three out of the last four holes. Meanwhile, Watson had gone back into the outright lead with a birdie on 17, which put him two clear of Wood and Westwood. All Watson needed to do was par the last and he would be the Open Champion for the sixth time and the oldest ever winner.
The rest of course is history, Watson bogied the 18th meaning that he had to play-off with Cink, which of course Cink won giving him a first ever Major Championship which left Watson adoring gallery almost in tears by the defeat of the man that almost defied history.
2009 British Open Champion – Stewart Cink
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