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Rediff.com  » Sports » McIlroy joins greats after repelling Garcia to win Open

McIlroy joins greats after repelling Garcia to win Open

July 20, 2014 23:53 IST

McIlroy joins greats after repelling Garcia to win Open

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Rory McIlroy suffered several anxious moments but kept the jitters in check to rubber-stamp his status as the newest golfing great by landing the first British Open title of his career on Sunday.

The 25-year-old Northern Irishman watched Sergio Garcia (66) cut his overnight lead from six strokes to two before repelling the last-round charge by his European Ryder Cup team mate to land his third major in a tantalising finish.

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Image: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland kisses the Claret Jug after his two-stroke victory at The 143rd Open Championship at Royal Liverpool
Photographs: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

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'The Grand Slam is a pretty good achievement'

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McIlroy returned a closing 71 for a 17-under total of 271 to become the third youngest player in history to capture three of the four majors, following Jack Nicklaus (23) and Tiger Woods (24).

"It wasn't easy today and I just needed to stay focussed, in the present and keep my concentration," he told the BBC after picking up a first prize of £975,000 ($1.67 million).

"The lead never got less than two shots so I always thought I had a little bit of a cushion. To be three legs towards the grand slam is a pretty good achievement and it feels incredible."

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Image: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates on the 18th green after winning the British Open Championship
Photographs: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

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Garcia was right in the hunt until he slipped

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Garcia, still striving to shed the unwanted tag of being one of the best players never to win one of the 'Big Four' prizes, pushed the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 U.S. PGA champion all the way before settling for a share of second place.

The Spaniard was right in the hunt until he suffered a calamity at the 161-yard 15th, the shortest hole at Royal Liverpool.

Garcia's tee shot found a deep greenside bunker and he made a heartbreaking bogey four after taking two strokes to get out.

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Image: Sergio Garcia of Spain watches his tee shot on the first hole
Photographs: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

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Gracia runners-up spot with American Rickie Fowler

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He ultimately shared runners-up spot with American Rickie Fowler on 273. Fowler was always on the fringe of the battle as he closed with a well-crafted 67.

Woods, playing among the back markers, ended his campaign with a disappointing three-over 75 for 294, six over.

The former world number one was making only his second competitive appearance since undergoing a back operation in March.


Image: Rickie Fowler of the U.S. (L) walks with Sergio Garcia of Spain on the 18th green after they finished as joint runners-up in the British Open Championship
Photographs: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

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