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The Open 2017: Jordan Spieth earns 'hardest, entirely anticipated win' at Royal Birkdale

The Open 2017: Jordan Spieth earns 'hardest, entirely anticipated win' at Royal Birkdale

So Jordan Spieth won The Open by three shots, just the same margin as he had held overnight, just as everyone assumed he would as Sunday afternoon began.

And in between came everything else possible and a lot that didn't seem to be and that those who saw up close could scarcely believe.

Spieth's fellow Texan and Masters champion Ben Crenshaw once spoke of looking into his young compatriot's eyes and seeing the dead-eyed stare of Wild West gunslinger Wyatt Earp. On the 13th hole of his final round, with the lead over Matt Kuchar gone up in smoke and his tee-shot lost in another postcode, Spieth simply looked dead.

Fifteen months ago he had led the Masters by five shots going to the par-three 12th before a quadruple-bogey seven detonated his hopes. Those sort of one-off collapses haunt a man. When those one-off collapses happen twice, you fear you might never escape.

And yet he did, first rescuing possibly the most valuable bogey he might ever make to hang on just one shot down, and then going on a charge that will live with him and this oldest of majors long into the years that come.

From the brink, a six-iron conjured off the 14th tee that clattered to four feet for a birdie to draw level with Kuchar once again. On the 15th, a 35-foot sweet monster of a putt for eagle and the lead. Sixteen, a near-replica for another birdie; on 17, a cold-blooded killer from seven feet for one more.

Birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie. Form from nowhere, a touch from the heavens. Kuchar had gone two under across the same four holes, and yet lost three shots on his playing partner. 

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