2011 British Open Golf Championship
The 140th Open Championship was held at Royal St George's in Sandwich, Kent, for the fourteenth time and it was British favourites like Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood who were expected to challenge, although things turned out a little differently.
Darren Clarke landed his first major title during four days of the most testing golf in weather conditions that caused havoc and saw the top players fall by the wayside.
Thomas Bjorn opened up the tournament with a stunning opening round of 65 as he attempted to lay the ghosts of 2003 - Bjorn lost the British Open at Royal St George's in 2003 despite leading by three shots with four holes to play. Bjorn was joined at the head of the leaderboard by 20-year-old amateur Tom Lewis, who shared the lead at five under par after the first day. Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald all ended the day one over par, with Darren Clarke part of a large group tied for six at two under.
Tom Lewis faded into the background with a four over on the second day, with Lucas Glover moving into contention thanks to a level par 70 to remain four under. Darren Clarke also stepped up to the plate with a second round of 68 as he notched a rare birdie on the 18th. Thomas Bjorn was still in the mix but Donald, McIlroy, Westwood and Graeme McDowell all missed the cut.
The weather created havoc on day three as wet and windy conditions caused all sorts of problems, although veteran Tom Watson rolled back the years with a two over 72. Rickie Fowler moved himself into contention with a 68 to move into tied third with Thomas Bjorn, while Dustin Johnson was second after a 68 of his own. It was Darren Clarke who continued to lead the way though as he took the 54 hole lead at five under.
Darren Clarke landed his first ever major title as he finally won the British Open at the 20th time of asking. He showed tremendous nerve to hold off the challenge of Phil Mickelson, who came virtually from nowhere after going five under in the front nine and who ended tied second with Dustin Johnson at two under.
Clarke held out to win though as he finished five under to complete a fairytale, and hugely popular, victory after being a massive outsider in the ante-post betting.
2011 British Open Champion – Darren Clarke
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