Duval wins Open by three shots

Rivals fade as American claims his first major at last

Duval wins Open by three shots

With a final round of 67, David Duval finally shrugged off the unwanted millstone of being one of the finest players never to win a major championship.

He claimed the Open title at Royal Lytham and St Annes with a total of 274 - ten under par.

Second place - and a guaranteed spot on the European Ryder Cup team at The Belfry in September went to 29-year-old Swede Niclas Fasth. He finished with a 67 for a seven under par score.

In joint third in a log-jam on six under were Ernie Els (69), Miguel Angel Jimenez (70), Darren Clarke (70), Ian Woosnam (71), Bernhard Langer (71) and Billy Mayfair (70).

Duval was relentless, firing most of his tee shots into the centre of the fairway, finding the greens with his approaches and holing vital putts.

It was a performance which brought the best out of Europe's top players but when it mattered most they could not find the birdies they needed to challenge.

Fasth from Gothenburg set the target of seven under par in the clubhouse but it was always going to be a shot or two shy of the winning mark.

Both Miguel Angel Jimenez and Darren Clarke got within striking distance at -8 but when Duval, after a birdies at three, six, seven and 11, got to ten under par with birdie at 13, the chasing pack fell away.

The gritty Ian Woosnam, from Wales, who was dealt a cruel blow with a two shot penalty on the second tee when it was discovered he had 15 clubs instead of the regulation 14 in his bag, had a chance to finish second when he birdied the 16th to go seven under.

But he misdirected his approach to 16 and took bogey. Earlier at the same hole Darren Clarke found Bobby Jones' bunker in the fairway, and another at greenside. He took double bogey six.

For Duval, clinching the Open Claret Jug is a dream come true and in his victory speech he belied his on course sullen demeanour, usually hidden behind dark glasses.

He told the 40,000 crowd thronging the final hole amphitheatre: "I have played in the Open for seven years and it has always been a wonderful experience.

"I played here in 1996 and walked away thinking ' what a great course. It is set up for me.'

"I putted well this week and on the first two days that was the only thing that stood between me and missing the cut. I found the bunkers penal but I learned my lesson."

And to warm applause he added: "I will do my best to represent this championship in a great fashion."

The tournament's early hot favourite Tiger Woods flattered to deceive. Three early birdies after a bogey at the first gave him momentum but he was unable to maintain it and finished on one under par.

Colin Montgomerie closed with a 72 to finish on -4, one behind Jesper Parnevik, Sergio Garcia, Des Smyth and Finn Mika Ilonen.

Open final leaderboard
1DUVAL, DavidUSA18-1069736567
2FASTH, NiclasSWE18-769697267
T3ELS, ErnieRSA18-671716769
T3CLARKE, DarrenNIR18-670696970
T3JIMÉNEZ, Miguel AngelESP18-669726770
T3MAYFAIR, BillyUSA18-669726770
T3WOOSNAM, IanWAL18-672686771
T3LANGER, BernhardGER18-671696771
T9ILONEN, MikkoFIN18-568757066
T9SUTHERLAND, KevinUSA18-575696867
T9GARCIA, SergioESP18-570726770
T9PARNEVIK, JesperSWE18-569687171
T13SINGH, VijayFIJ18-470707169
T13ROBERTS, LorenUSA18-470707070
T13ANDRADE, BillyUSA18-469707071
T13SMYTH, DesIRL18-474657071
T13GOOSEN, RetiefRSA18-474686771
T13MONTGOMERIE, ColinSCO18-465707372
T13JACQUELIN, RaphaëlFRA18-471686972
T13CEJKA, AlexGER18-469696973
T21LOVE III, DavisUSA18-373677467
T21PRICE, NickZIM18-373676873
T23CAMPBELL, MichaelNZL18-271727168
T23OWEN, GregENG18-269687273
T25ESTES, BobUSA18-174707366
T25WOODS, TigerUSA18-171687371
T25ROMERO, EduardoARG18-170687273
T25OGILVIE, JoeUSA18-169687175
29LANE, BarryENG18Par70727270
T30ROSE, JustinENG18169727470
T30CINK, StewartUSA18171727270
T30MICKELSON, PhilUSA18170727271
T30PRICE, PhillipWAL18174697171
T30VERPLANK, ScottUSA18171727072
T30DIXON (AM), DavidENG18170717074
T30VANHOOTEGEM, NicolasBEL18172687075
T37HARRINGTON, PadraigIRL18275667471
T37LICKLITER, FrankUSA18271717371
T37TANIGUCHI, ToruJPN18272697273
T37COLTART, AndrewSCO18275687073
T37HART, DudleyUSA18274696974
T42HAYES, JPUSA18369717473
T42GREEN, RichardAUS18371707274
T42STRICKER, SteveUSA18371697275
T42O'MEARA, MarkUSA18370697276
T42LAWRIE, PaulSCO18372706976
T47LONARD, PeterAUS18472707472
T47ALLENBY, RobertAUS18473717173
T47DIMARCO, ChrisUSA18468747274
T47WESTWOOD, LeeENG18473707174
T47GOGEL, MattUSA18473707174
T47FAXON, BradUSA18468717475
T47SCOTT, AdamAUS18473717074
T54OLAZABAL, José MariaESP18569747373
T54SABBATINI, RoryRSA18570697674
T54FRANCO, CarlosPAR18571717374
T54CALCAVECCHIA, MarkUSA18572707275
T54CURRY, PaulENG18572717175
T54MCGINLEY, PaulIRL18569727276
T54WALDORF, DuffyUSA18570736977
61APPLEBY, StuartAUS18669757274
T62BRAND JNR., GordonSCO18770727574
T62CHAMBLEE, BrandelUSA18772697476
T62FULKE, PierreSWE18769677283
65CHEETHAM, NeilENG181172727378
T66LEVET, ThomasFRA181272727775
T66BALICKI, AlexandreFRA181269757577
68SMAIL, DavidNZL181471727679
T69HENDERSON, ScottSCO181775698176
T69LYLE, SandySCO181772717781

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