It’s the last weekend of Major Championship action in 2013, and to mark the occasion europeantour.com looks back at the three previous Major weekends this year, and how our Members have fared when the pressure is ramped up…
The English trio of David Lynn, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood were the best placed European Tour players at the halfway stage at Augusta National, sharing seventh spot alongside three others – one being Adam Scott, the eventual champion.
With a three under par total, they were three shots off the lead held by Jason Day, while Spaniards Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño and Sergio Garcia, Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy and South African Charl Schwartzel were another stroke back.
By the end of play on Sunday, however, it was young Dane Thorbjørn Olesen who was the highest finishing European Tour Member, having carded two consecutive rounds of 68 to take a share of fourth spot, once again reinforcing the belief that he will go on to achieve great things.
Garcia and Westwood had to settle for tied eighth place, producing weekend rounds of 70 and 73, and 73 and 71 respectively, while Fernandez-Castaño ended the week tied 20th after failing to maintain his best form.
McIlroy and Rose slumped to tied 25th – the former following a 79 and with 69 and the latter signing for 75 and 74.
US Open Championship
Rose bounced back from his disappointing Masters weekend to be well placed at the halfway stage at Merion Golf Club, and on Saturday played in the penultimate group. Luke Donald was even better placed, heading out in the final threeball on Saturday alongside Americans Phil Mickelson and Billy Horschel.
Nicolas Colsaerts and Schwartzel were third to last out at Augusta, while Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson were lurking and needing to capitalise on ‘Moving Day’ to propel themselves into contention.
Schwartzel fared best of the European Tour contingent in the third round, posting a 69 to earn a place in the penultimate pairing on the final day, but struggled to a 78 on Sunday to finish in 14th spot.
Rose, however, well and truly rose to the occasion as he went out in the third group from last alongside his friend and compatriot Donald, the pair having both signed for 71 on day three.
With the lead changing hands several times during the final round, Rose needed to par the long 18th to put the pressure on Mickelson, two groups behind. After his drive found the fairway, the 33 year old hit a magnificent four iron from 229 yards to just off the back of the green, then chipped to within an inch of the hole and tapped in for the par that meant Mickelson needed a birdie to force a play-off. He failed, meaning Rose captured the first Major title of his career.
The Open Championship
With Muirfield basking in glorious sunshine and the infamous winds of Scotland’s east coast notably absent, it was an unfamiliar setting for the third Major of the season. Miguel Angel Jiménez, in such fine form since his return from a broken leg earlier in the year, was the halfway leader on three under par, and the familiar names of Stenson, Westwood and Poulter were on the leaderboard heading into the weekend.
While Jiménez slipped away with a Saturday 77, Westwood made progress to take a two shot lead into the final round. Would this finally be the Englishman’s time?
Sunday had as many thrills and spills as you could wish for in the final round of a Major, but it was not all plain sailing for the European Tour boys. Westwood endured a torrid start to slip back into the pack, while Stenson was fighting to stay in it.
Poulter, however, was making a courageous charge, an impressive 67 ultimately earning him a share of third place.
But few would have predicted what happened on the back nine, when Mickelson tapped into the sort of form that had won him four Major titles previously. Putt after putt dropped as the American charged into pole position, and another birdie on the tricky 18th hole gave him a stunning 66 and, eventually, a three stroke victory.
Stenson took second place with a steady 70, but Westwood’s 74 left him four shots back. It was his 11th top three Major finish in the last five years, so surely the day must come when Westwood not only knocks on the door, but bashes it down and grasps a Major trophy…