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America’s Harman cruises to British Open glory

American Brian Harman won the British Open by six shots on Sunday, finishing 13 under par to claim his first major title at a rainswept Hoylake.

Masters champion Jon Rahm tied for second alongside Austria’s Sepp Straka, Australian Jason Day and South Korean Tom Kim.

But no one could get close to Harman as the world number 26 refused to buckle under the pressure of closing out his first tournament win since 2017.

“I’ve always had a self-belief that I could do something like this. It’s just when it takes so much time it’s hard not to let your mind falter, like maybe I’m not winning again,” said Harman.

“To come out and put a performance like that together, like start to finish, (I) just had a lot of control. I don’t know why this week, but I’m very thankful that it was this week.”

Harman held a five-shot lead overnight, a margin no player had squandered at a major since Frenchman Jean van de Velde, who collapsed at the last hole of the 1999 British Open.

The 36-year-old’s temperament was tested early on the soaking Royal Liverpool course on the English west coast.

Harman bogeyed the second after a wayward approach failed to find the green and was then punished for a wild tee shot at the par-five fifth with another dropped shot.

His lead was briefly cut to three shots, but back-to-back birdies at the sixth and seventh settled his nerves and stretched his lead as the chasing pack failed to make a move.

“Just with the weather and the scenario, you’re going to hit bad shots,” added Harman. “I knew that the way I responded to that would determine whether I’d be sitting here or not.”

His sublime putting was the key to his success all week and he nailed a huge 40-foot birdie putt at 14 before another birdie at the par-five 15th set the seal on a remarkably composed performance.

Rahm, McIlroy fall short

Rahm shot a course-record 63 on Saturday to get back in the hunt for his third major.

The Spaniard needed similar heroics to ramp up the pressure on the leader, but could only manage a one-under round of 70 thanks to a birdie at the last to climb into a share of second.

Straka’s two-under-par final round was enough to secure his best-ever finish at a major and boost his hopes of representing Europe at the Ryder Cup later this year.

Kim’s joint-second was also a career-best at a major, while Day, the 2015 PGA Championship winner, continued his return to form after years of struggle with a back injury.

Rory McIlroy finished in a tie for sixth on six under par alongside Argentine Emiliano Grillo.

McIlroy’s wait to win a fifth major will now extend into at least a 10th year.

Not for the first time this week, the Northern Irishman made a blistering start with three birdies in his opening five holes to move into a share of second at the time.

But four pars to the turn slowed his momentum before a bogey at the 10th ended his hopes of a miraculous victory at the scene of his only British Open triumph in 2014.

McIlroy has now finished in the top 10 at seven of the past eight majors.

“If it weren’t for one guy I’d be right there,” said McIlroy. “Still another really solid performance and still a lot of golf to play this year.”

Veteran Henrik Stenson’s tie for 13th was the best of a poor showing from the group of players now plying their trade on the Saudi-backed LIV golf circuit at three under.

Further back, world number 561 Alex Fitzpatrick upstaged older brother and 2022 US Open champion Matt.

Playing in his first major championship, Alex Fitzpatrick finished at two under for a share of 17th, four shots better than Matt, who came in at two over par for the championship.