Royal Birkdale

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    Profile photo of aceventurer aceventurer 

    At last, it’ been a while but at last we are into Open week. Royal Birkdale is the host for the tenth time since 1954 and, alongside Royal Lytham, has been the most regular visited venue. Here are a couple of the more recent Opens at this magnificent venue.

    In 2008 Royal Birkdale was where Padraig Harrington successfully defended his Open title and was the first European to do so since James Braid in 2906. Before the Open Harrington had damaged his wrist while practising with his driver into a bean bag and nearly had to withdraw. Gales had battered the course over the week and it as going to take true links golf to take the trophy.
    Going into the final round Harrington was two behind 53-year-old Greg Norman, who was still on honeymoon with new wife tennis star Chris Evert. Norman was still clinging on after the front nine and Harrington had bogeyed three in a row. However Padraig just kept plugging away and he wrapped it up at the par 5 17th when he hit a five wood 246 yards to three feet and an eagle and enjoyed the walk up the 18th to the roars of the crowd.

    In 1998 Mark O’Meara became the oldest person to win two Majors in the same year. He won the Masters in April and along with Brian Watts were fighting it out for the title. In the final round O’Meara made birdies at the 11th, 12th and 14th, bogeyed the 16th but birdied the 17th for a 68. Watts birdied the 17th and parred the 18th to take the tournament into a play-off. The play-off was played over the final four holes and aggregate score. O’Meara won it by two shots after birdieing the first extra hole and didn’t look back.
    A young English amateur taking part that week was Justin Rose. The 17-year-old’s second round 66 equalled the record for an amateur in the Open. He tied for fourth after a holing brilliant pitch from the rough to birdie and that was the best result for a British amateur since 1921.

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