Through 54 holes at the Open Championship, Jordan Spieth had made just four bogeys. By the time he reached the fifth tee on Sunday at Royal Birkdale, he had already made three, shrinking his three-shot lead over Matt Kuchar to one. It was clear from the start Spieth didn't have his best stuff, but he battled the rest of the way, and earned the claret jug with a 12-under 268.
It is the third major championship of his career, and means he's just a victory at the PGA Championship away from the career grand slam.
After bouncing back with a birdie on the sixth, Spieth, 23, played the next seven holes in one-over, making him three-over through 12. That's when one of the strangest scenes in recent memory occurred, when Spieth blocked his tee shot a hundred yards right of the fairway. He wouldn't hit his next shot for another 25 minutes as he looked for the best spot to take a drop after claiming an unplayable lie. Eventually, he would make one of the most important bogeys he'll ever make, and swung the momentum back in his favor.
He played the final five holes in five-under, including a near-ace on the par-3 14th, an eagle at the par-5 15th and back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th holes. A par was all he needed on 18 to shoot a one-under 69, and played all four rounds under par at Royal Birkdale. He joins Jack Nicklaus as the only other player to win three legs of the career grand slam before the age of 24.
Matt Kuchar hung in as long as he could, even taking the solo lead after Spieth's debacle on the 13th hole. After going one-over through six holes, he collected three birdies and a bogey on his final 12 holes to finish with a one-under 69, three back of Spieth at nine-under 271.
Finishing six back in solo third was China's Haotong Li, who posted a seven-under 63 to finish at six-under 274. The stellar day makes him the first player from Asia to shoot a 63 in the final round of a major.
Rory McIlroy and Rafa Cabrera-Bello finished tied for fourth at five-under 275.