Sunday, 17 July 2011
Thomas Bjorn  (Getty Images)
Thomas Bjorn (Getty Images)

Denmark's Thomas Björn insists his fourth-place finish at The Open Championship has given him renewed hope for the future.

The 40 year old's return to Royal St George's - the scene of arguably the lowest moment of his career when he lost the 2003 tournament having held a three shot lead with four to play - came only as a result of Vijay Singh's withdrawal.

But he made the most of the opportunity, shooting a 65 to share the lead with English amateur Tom Lewis on the first day and remaining in contention until the last few holes of the final day.

However, rather than view it as catharsis, the Dane said it just provided another stepping stone for the future.

"People want me to say I have put a lot of things behind me this week but I don't live in the past," he said after shooting a final-round 72 to finish one under for the tournament.

"I came in here with a chance of playing in an Open Championship and I gave it all I had.

"I didn't think about what happened eight years ago, I thought about this week and what was ahead of me and I will keep doing that.

"I strongly believe that is the way to play the game, if you live in the past you have no chance."

Björn could not follow up his five under par opening round and scores of 72 and 71 on Friday and Saturday damaged his bid to challenge for The Claret Jug.

He still began the last day just three shots behind Darren Clarke but could not find a way to catch the Northern Irishman.

"I played well, I gave it all I had and came up short but Darren was too strong for everyone this week," he added.

"That is all you can do, give it everything you can.

"I played well and did most things right and I am delighted with the week as a whole because it gives me a confidence boost going forward.

"I love this tournament, I absolutely think it is the best in the world to play and every time you get a chance to get into it you get an extra kick.

"I enjoyed every minute of it and that gives me a lot of positive things going forward.

"You want to go better but that was not to be and any time you finish top ten in a Major you have done well."

Mickelson, who began the final round five shots behind Clarke, also paid tribute to his former Ryder Cup opponant.

The left-hander had wiped out that deficit in the space of seven holes courtesy of three birdies and an eagle, but his challenge petered out on the back nine.

Clarke's wife Heather died in 2006 after a long battle with cancer, while Mickelson's wife Amy and mother Mary are both recovering from breast cancer.

"I'm really happy for Darren," Mickelson said after a closing 68 left him in a share of second place with fellow American Johnson.

"He was one of the first people that called us, Amy and I, a couple years ago. He's been through this and couldn't have been a better person to talk to.

"We talked for a few hours a couple of times, just to know what to expect and what they went through and what worked and what didn't and some of the mistakes they made and so forth and the fears that he had.

"He's been through it all and so I was very appreciative of the time we spent. He's a tremendous person and a very good friend, and I couldn't be happier for him. It was fun to try to make a run at him."

Johnson, who shared second place with Mickelson, thought back to one shot in particular after becoming a nearly man in the Majors again at Sandwich.

Johnson, who twice missed out at Majors last year after leading, took seven on the long 14th after hitting his second shot out of bounds.

After losing by three to playing partner Clarke the 27-year-old said: "I played well enough maybe to get it done today.

"I probably should have hit three-wood. I'm two back and out here you don't really get too many opportunities to make birdie, so it was definitely a 'go' situation.

"If I had to do it over again I'd hit a three-wood instead of a two-iron.

"It really just took all my momentum out, but I had a great week.

I came down with a little bit of illness, wasn't feeling that well, so I didn't know what to expect.

"But I fought all week and I didn't have my best stuff this week for sure.

"The more I put myself in this situation the better. The more I learn, the more I understand my game and what happens in this situation."

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