Thirty years of hurt beckon as 1992 was the last time an Englishman tasted Open glory when Nick Faldo triumphed at Muirfield… with best-performing home player Paul Casey finishing 10 shots off winner Collin Morikawa
- Tommy Fleetwood, Danny Willett and Justin Rose threatened before falling away
- Paul Casey was the best-placed Englishman, with Bob MacIntyre the top Briton
- The 24-year-old Scot finished in the top 10 – his second-best major finish
- Lee Westwood now has the unwanted record of 88 majors without victory
There were seven Englishmen out on the course in the midday sun, although they weren’t mad enough to hang around for too long.
With not a cloud in the sky, the mercury touching 86°F (30°C) and little breeze floating in from the North Sea, it felt like a day for watching rather than playing golf, and at the end of a difficult week the domestic protagonists seemed to agree.
The Garden of England has not provided fertile ground for an English challenge, with the long wait for a home Open champion continuing.
Nick Faldo was the last English winner of The Open back in 1992 at Muirfield after carding -12
Paul Casey was the highest-placed Englishman on -5 – 10 shots behind winner Collin Morikawa
By the time this travelling circus arrives at St Andrews for its 150th anniversary extravaganza next summer, it will be 30 years since The Open produced an English champion, a gloomy milestone that may necessitate a call to Baddiel and Skinner.
Nick Faldo’s replica Claret Jug from Muirfield may still be gleaming, but it is about time one of his compatriots got within touching distance of the real thing.
Tommy Fleetwood, Danny Willett and Justin Rose all threatened to mount a challenge, keeping pace with the leaders on the opening day with rounds of three under par, but none could sustain the momentum.
By Sunday afternoon it was left to Paul Casey and Andy Sullivan to battle it out for the unofficial title of domestic top dog, though both were beaten by Scot Bob MacIntyre, who matched his impressive tally of six birdies on Saturday to finish on seven under for the Championship.
MacIntyre could not quite join the chasing pack, but the 24-year-old will still be thrilled by his place in the top 10, his second-best finish in a major after tying for sixth in The Open at Portrush two years ago.
Casey lost his duel with outgoing champion Shane Lowry, who pipped him by a shot to finish six under, but was still the best-placed Englishman, two strokes ahead of Sullivan.
The veteran Lee Westwood has gone 88 majors without tasting victory – a new record
Fleetwood and Willett finished on two under, with Rose falling back to evens after posting a score of three over, going out in 42 strokes before storming home in just 31.
Lee Westwood finished on two over and secured the unwanted record of playing in the most majors without winning — 88.
This has been his best year financially, winning more that £3.6million — mainly in America after staying away from the UK during Covid. But it has come at a price.
‘I’ve played as many tournaments at this point in the year as I have done over the whole year the last three or four seasons,’ said the 48-year-old. ‘It is just too much.’
Ian Poulter became engrossed in Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s crash after his round
Ian Poulter shot an impressive 68 to finish three under, but seemed more interested in events elsewhere.
After finishing with a putt for par on the 18th, the 45-year-old grabbed his phone from his caddie and it quickly became apparent he was watching clips of the British Grand Prix and the crash involving Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
The dangers Formula One drivers subject themselves to on a daily basis make Championship golf look like a walk in the park, although even a pleasant Sunday stroll was hard work.