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Zach Johnson wins dramatic Open Championship

Zach Johnson played a nearly perfect final round of golf to win his first major in eight years.

Zach Johnson played a nearly perfect final round of golf to win his first major in eight years.

The story going into The Open Championship was Jordan Spieth. The story going into the final day of the tournament was Paul Dunne. The story going into three-man playoff was Marc Leishman. And the story at the very end of The Open Championship was Zach Johnson.

Johnson won his second-ever major championship as he played a near-perfect final round at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, finishing the tournament at 15-under with a 66 on the par 72 in the final round.

But while Johnson finished early following an incredible 18-foot putt, Leishman completed a remarkable final two rounds of the tournament. After hitting just one-under before the cut, Leishman went eight-under in round three and six-round in round four to tie Johnson at 15-under. Meanwhile, Louis Oosthuizen was just steady the entire tournament and close out the 18th hole with a birdie to force a three-man playoff to determine the winner.

In that playoff featuring two former major winners, Leishman looked out of his element. His inspiring story came up short with two bogeys and two pars in the playoffs. Johnson, despite having nearly an hour lay-off from the time he finished his final round to when the playoff started, Johnson sunk two birdies on the first two holes of the playoffs and finished for par to stay one-under. Oosthuizen’s final putt to continue the playoff was just a little off and Johnson earned the Claret Jug.

It was Johnson’s first first major championship since he won the Masters in 2007. Since then, he has not really come all that close to winning another major. The closest he has come since 2010, however, was in the 2013 Open Championship when he finished sixth. This year, he finished tied for ninth in the Masters and had a pretty unforgettable U.S. Open.

In this tournament, he may not have killed the ball off the tee but dominated with his wedge game and putting.

Leishman has been a largely forgettable golfer with just one PGA Tour win in his career but bogeyed just one time in the final two rounds. A great result for a man who went through so much personal tragedy and nearly left the game earlier this year.

Leishman’s wife, Audrey, survived a series of infections that put her in a coma earlier this year. She had flu-like symptoms, then strep throat. That turned into pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome and toxic shock syndrome. While that was going on, Leishman withdrew from the Masters and considered leaving golf to take care of his young kids. She pulled through and it gave him perspective that if the worst he has to worry about is a double-bogey, then he has it pretty good.

Jordan Spieth may not have joined the history Ben Hogan made by winning a third-straight major, but the 21-year-old is still clearly one of the greatest golfers in the world.

Jordan Spieth may not have joined the history Ben Hogan made by winning a third-straight major, but the 21-year-old is still clearly one of the greatest golfers in the world.

Leishman played fearless and his fearlessness turned into near-perfection over the second half of the tournament and in the grand scheme of things, his two bogey’s in the playoff still let him claim second place in the tournament.

But with Johnson’s triumph came Spieth’s disappointment. The 21-year-old’s attempt to become the first person to win the first three majors of the year since 1953 came up just short.

Perhaps it was his far left drive that left his approach shot short on the final hole or maybe it was his double bogey because of poor putting on the eighth hole, Spieth was just one shot short of making it a four-man playoff. The same could be said for his day-four partner Jason Day, who did not bogey in either of the final two rounds but constantly had to settle for pars.

Going into the day the story was Dunne, an amateur Golfer who finished fifth in individual competition at the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship and finished the season with an average score of 71.9. The 22-year-old Irish golfer was the first amateur to lead a major after three rounds since Bobby Jones. He was 15-under after three rounds, but the fourth day would just not be his day and he plummeted down the rankings to 30th. Oklahoma State’s Jordan Niebrugge eventually won the silver medal for the best amateur score with a -11 total.

Australian Adam Scott was in control of the lead late in the fourth round but crumbled over the final five holes. At one point, Scott was 15-under with only five holes to go but followed a disappointing 14th hole bogey by missing a two-foot gimme putt on the 15th, despite being one of the few top guys who still anchors his shots. Scott was five-over on the final five holes with a double bogey on the 18th to finish just 10-over for a 10th-place finish.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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