American Jordan Spieth has set his sights on the career grand slam after exorcising the demons of last year’s Masters capitulation by winning the Open at Royal Birkdale.
In a dramatic final round, Spieth appeared on the brink of collapse after being four over par for his opening 13 holes.
But the 23-year-old played the next four holes in five under and made a par at the last to finish on 12 under for the championship – three shots ahead of runner-up Matt Kuchar.
Spieth, who won the Masters and the US Open in 2015, has now completed three legs of the grand slam before the age of 24. The only other player to achieve that feat was 18-time major winner Jack Nicklaus.
The American, who collected a cheque for £1.4million after becoming the youngest winner of the Open since Seve Ballesteros in 1979, could surpass Tiger Woods as the youngest player to complete the grand slam with victory at the US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow next month.
The victory was all the sweeter for Spieth after his capitulation at Augusta last year when he squandered a five shot lead with nine holes to play to allow Danny Willett win the green jacket.
Spieth, who turns 24 on Thursday, is excited about trying to complete the set of majors in three weeks’ time.
He said: “It’s incredible. It’s a life goal of mine.
“Growing up playing golf, I just wanted to be able to play in major championships and compete with the best in the world. Things have happened very quickly.
“That is good and bad, because a lot comes with it, such as getting a lot more attention.
“I wanted to be in this position but then it becomes harder when it doesn’t go your way and you’re harder on yourself because you expect so much.
“I’m going to thoroughly enjoy this.
“I look back on ’15 and I enjoyed it but you don’t really understand its significance until you hit a low.
“This is as much of a high as I’ve ever experienced in my golfing life and I’m going to enjoy it more than I’ve enjoyed anything that I’ve accomplished in the past.”
Aberdeen’s Richie Ramsay finished top Scot in tied 22nd position after a final round 72 for a level par total of 280, one shot better than compatriot David Drysdale.
Ramsay said: “It was great to play close to the last few groups on the weekend of a major.
“I can hit it as straight as anybody off the tee and my ball striking can be really good but my short game just needs to be way sharper. It’s as simple as that.
“It’s very small margins and that’s what I need to improve.”