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The Open: Brian Harman 'strolls' to maiden major victory after 'perfect week' at Royal Liverpool

Brian Harman cruised to a six-shot victory at The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool to claim a maiden major title; Jon Rahm was part of a four-way tie for second as Rory McIlroy's latest bid for a fifth major victory ended in a share of sixth

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Take a look back at Brian Harman's final round of 70 that sealed him victory and the Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool

How impressive was Brian Harman's maiden major success? Dame Laura Davies and Andrew Coltart take a closer look at the American's six-shot win at The Open.

Harman took a five-shot lead into Sunday of the final men's major of the year but saw that cut to three strokes after two early bogeys in his round, only for him to respond brilliantly in rainy conditions to fire a final-round 70 and cruise to a maiden major success.

The American finished on 13 under and comfortably ahead of Jon Rahm, Jason Day, Sepp Straka and Tom Kim - who all shared second - with the win enhancing Harman's hopes of a likely Ryder Cup debut for Team USA this September in Rome.

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Brian Harman reveals what he told himself heading into the final round of The Open, which he won by six shots at Royal Liverpool

"There was an element of the brilliance over the first few days from Harman, he put the pressure on the rest of the field and opened up this five-shot gap," Coltart told Sky Sports.

"When he did make a mistake, and he made six bogeys, he bounced back with birdies, so he never really gave anybody over the last 36 holes a chance to eat into that lead. In the end it was a bit of a stroll."

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Brian Harman cards a final round 70 to win The Open by six shots at Royal Liverpool

Cameron Young started the day as Harman's closest challenger but faded with a final-round 73, while Rahm never made a serious push after mixing three birdies with two bogeys in a one-under 70.

Day and Straka both carded final-round 69s and Kim's Sunday charge also lifted him to seven under, although Harman never saw his lead smaller than three strokes at any point during the final day.

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Rory McIlroy briefly got within four of the lead until a three-under 68 left him in tied-sixth, with the Northern Irishman now having 20 top-10 finishes in majors since his 2014 PGA Championship win.

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Rory McIlroy makes the dream start to his final round at The Open and closes on leader Brian Harman by firing three consecutive birdies from the third

"I think the chasing pack could have and should have done more," Coltart added. "Rahm was slow out the box, having had a tremendous performance in his third round, but came up a bit shy.

"McIlroy's middle two rounds, the putter just wasn't working, similar story for (Tommy) Fleetwood, once he got himself into position he couldn't buy a putt over the weekend.

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Rory McIlroy says the Ryder Cup is now his main focus after what he describes as a 'forgettable' week at The Open

"I think a little nod to (Sepp) Straka, who has done a huge leap up the Ryder Cup rankings, but there will be quite a few players that will look and think it didn't happen when it needed to."

How impressive was Harman's win?

Harman becomes the oldest first-time major winner since Sergio Garcia in 2017 and the third left-hander to win The Open, following on from Bob Charles and Phil Mickelson, with the victory also set to move him inside the world's top 10.

"Maybe it was one of those things where this was the perfect week for Harman," four-time major champion Dame Laura Davies told Sky Sports. "A golf course where you didn't need length, you needed precision, he took full advantage of it.

United States' Brian Harman reacts after a birdie on the 14th green during the final day of the British Open Golf Championships at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England, Sunday, July 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Image: Brian Harman mixed four birdies with three bogeys during a final-round 70

"He was a fighter, he was up against Tommy Fleetwood's gallery on Saturday and he saw them off. They were nice to him, they weren't disrespectful to him, but they wanted Tommy to do well.

"He gets to take the trophy around the world with him now for the next year and have the most fun. But it was his week this week, whether he does it again we'll just have to wait and see. But he's proven he can do it under the ultimate pressure against the best field.

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Brian Harman gets his round back on track after a shaky start with consecutive birdies to re-establish his five stroke lead

"He's not a particularly outgoing guy, but he produced the goods on the golf course and that's really all that matters. He's one of the quiet men of the game, but now he'll have to change a little bit because he'll have so much focus on him.

"He can't blend into the background, he's an Open champion - and he's earned it. Twice he had to sleep on a five shot lead, and that's so difficult. He maintained that and then today no one got close enough to him to really to put the ultimate pressure on. Whatever he does in his career now, no one can ever take that away from him."

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