Brian Harman dominates Open Championship, wins by 6 at Royal Liverpool

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Brian Harman is your Champion Golfer of the Year.

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Sunday morning at the 151st Open Championship was full of speculation.

Could Jon Rahm complete his comeback from cut line to champion? Would Tommy Fleetwood thrill the home crowd with his first major title? Did Rory McIlroy have a magical final-round performance in him?

In the end, those potential storylines didn’t matter — Brian Harman would have none of it.

On a soggy Sunday at Royal Liverpool, the 36-year-old left little doubt in the outcome. Harman was unflappable in the final round in his quest for his first major title, shooting a one-under 70 at Hoylake as he cruised to the Claret Jug by six shots.

“[I feel] overwhelming joy,” Harman said. “You can’t take it from me. I’m just over the moon.”

Harman began the day with a five-stroke lead, and the margin remained intact for much of the day. Each misstep was met with a a birdie as his lead never shrunk below three. Despite making three bogeys on the day, four birdies — along with the five-stroke cushion he’d built through three rounds — were more than enough to keep the chasers at arm’s length and earn him his first major title.

Teeing off several groups ahead of Harman, McIlroy came out of the gates with a flurry, birdieing three of his first five holes. But, much like on Saturday, his round stalled as he could only muster level-par golf from there in to finish with a 68. Although the T6-finish is good enough for his 30th career major top 10, his winless drought in the big ones has now extended to 10 years.

“Solid performance,” McIlroy said. “I got off to a really good start, but it’s just hard to keep that going.”

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Rahm, the other big name in chase, looked poised to hunt down Harman when the day began. However, much like McIlroy, his final round got stuck in neutral as he was never able to chip away at Harman’s lead, eventually finishing T2.

Names like Sepp Straka, Tom Kim, Jason Day and Emiliano Grillo all looked ready to make a charge at various points throughout the day, but none could gather enough momentum to make a serious challenge.

Despite the noise from the golf ahead of him, in the final pairing, Harman remained unfazed. He made two bogeys over his first five holes, but immediately answered with back-to-back birdies. After righting the ship, there was little doubt in the outcome.

Harman followed a similar script as the one Tiger Woods used to win the 2006 Open at Hoylake. In that win, Woods did not find a single one of Hoylake’s bunkers. In Harman’s run to the title, he found just two. That recipe proved to be a successful one, and by the time Harman reached the 18th tee, his lead stood at six as he embarked on the best walk in golf — a stress-free stroll to the Claret Jug.

“This is as cool as it gets,” Harman said. “This is the best tournament in the world and I’m just thrilled.”

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