For a while on Sunday at the Open Championship, it appeared Jordan Spieth might
relive the fortunes that befell him at the 2016 Masters, coughing up a golden chance to win when seemingly in the driver’s seat.
Instead, as the wheels appeared to be coming off, Spieth grabbed Royal Birkdale by the throat and produced a finish for the ages, thereby adding the third leg of the career Grand Slam to his résumé just a few days shy of his 24th birthday.
Spieth started the final round three strokes ahead of Matt Kuchar, the classy PGA Tour veteran who was chasing his first major title at 39, and finished the same margin ahead of Kuchar after both posted closing 69s.
But Spieth took us on a wild ride in between. After making a heroic bogey at the 13th hole, where he drove it right of the world and took an unplayable lie, Spieth fell a stroke behind Kuchar, who was plodding along steadily in par. Just when it appeared Kuchar would be the beneficiary of another Spieth collapse, Spieth conjured the magic only the greatest of champions possess.
Birdie. Eagle. Birdie. Birdie. Just like that, Spieth seized the Claret Jug.
Spieth’s victory comes on the heels of his dramatic triumph late last month at the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship, where he holed a bunker shot in a playoff to win. It ups the ante for Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and others congregated near Spieth in the upper reaches of the world ranking. And it means Spieth will arrive in Charlotte, N.C., for the PGA Championship in two weeks with a chance to complete the career Slam.