Brian Harman won the first major of his career after his victory at the 151st Open Championship on Sunday.
Harman finished six shots ahead of Australia’s Jason Day, Austria’s Sepp Straka, South Korea’s Tom Kim, and Spain’s Jon Rahm in rainy weather to lift the Claret Jug.
He was not deterred by the boos from fans who seemed not to be paying attention to his stellar performance or simply wanted something else.
Brian Harman had a five-stroke lead into the final round. He went home with the $3 million winner’s cut of the $16.5 million prize purse after rebounding from two early bogeys to card a closing one-under 70 and finish on 13-under par overall.
Harman took the lead on Friday morning with the second of four straight birdies early in the second round, and never trailed over the final 51 holes, leading by five shots after the second round and five shots after the third round.
The 36-year-old ranked 26th in the world, had previously won twice on the PGA Tour since he turned pro in 2009. His closest to winning the major was finishing runner-up at the 2017 US Open.
He is also the oldest first-time major winner since Sergio Garcia was 37 when he won the Masters in 2017.
“I’m going to have me a few pints from this trophy, I believe,” Harman said during his winner’s interview.
“This golf course was a real test. It was set up so great, even with the weather … to all the fans, all the nice words and all the people that were back home rooting me on, I appreciate it – thank you so much.”
He walked up toward the 18th green to a standing ovation and tapped his hand to his heart to acknowledge the former booing fans as he walked off the green, after the game. All that remained was signing his card — a 13-under 271 — and return to collect the silver claret jug, the oldest trophy in golf.
Victory in the fourth and final men’s major of the year marks the third straight win by an American after Brooks Koepka secured his third PGA Championship and Wyndham Clark won a first career major at the US Open.
Rory McIlroy, who had won the Scottish Open last week and was the last Open champion at Royal Liverpool in 2014 did not deliver as expected.
He started nine shots behind and ran off three straight birdies, starting with a 50-foot putt on No. 3. He was within five shots and still on the front nine. And then he stalled, not making another birdie until Harman was well on his way. He tied with Emiliano Grillo (68).
“I’m optimistic about the future and just got to keep plugging away,” said McIlroy, who now has gone 34 majors since winning his last one in 2014.
Cameron Young, the runner-up last year at St. Andrews, played in the final group with Harman. He closed with a 73 and tied for eighth with Shubhankar Sharma of India, who had 17 pars and one birdie in his round of 70.
Harman now has a five-year exemption in all the majors, with Sunday’s victory, and joins the list of Open champions at Hoylake that include McIlroy and Tiger Woods, Bobby Jones, and Walter Hagen.