Sport Golf

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Watson gets putter red hot ahead of Muirfield

Karl MacGinty

TOM WATSON, arguably the greatest seaside specialist of all time, may be ready to make another mind-boggling glory bid at the British Open.

US Ryder Cup skipper Watson defied his 63 years with a splendid closing 67 at The Old White TPC on Sunday to clinch a top-40 finish on four-under-par in the US PGA Tour's Greenbrier Classic.

Watson posted three rounds in the 60s in West Virginia, which augurs well for his prospects at Muirfield, where he registered one of his five Open victories in 1980.

Just four years ago at Turnberry, Watson got within one missed putt of pulling off the greatest victory in Major championship history before being denied a sixth Claret Jug by fellow American Stewart Cink in a four-hole play-off.

Offered at odds of between 250/1 and 500/1 to win next week, Watson's putter was cold for 54 holes at the Greenbrier but turned red hot on Sunday. He took just 22 putts in the final round, one-putting 14 greens.

Jonas Blixt took the honours as darkness fell on a storm-tossed final day at Old White. A closing 67 clinched the Swede a second PGA Tour win on 13-under, two ahead of Jimmy Walker, overnight leader Johnson Wagner and Aussie duo Steven Bowditch and Matt Jones.

Revealingly, the final two-ball of Wagner and Walker played their final 18 holes in a quick-fire three hours, 38 minutes as night closed in, though they both failed to break par. Wagner shot 73 and Walker 71.

Ten more players have earned their ticket to Muirfield – Richard Sterne, Brett Rumford, Mikko Ilonen, Thomas Bjorn and Mark Warren from the European Tour, while Walker, Billy Horschel, Boo Weekley, Russell Henley and Harris English were the leading five not already exempt in the PGA Tour top 20 on Sunday night.

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport