American veteran Mark O’Meara completed his emotional final walk up the 18th hole of an Open championship, and signed his final score-card at Royal Birkdale.
Although the 60-year-old failed to make the cut, he still completed the first two rounds of his 31st Open Championship at the scene of his memorable 1998 triumph – a place that could not have been more fitting.
And while it may not have been the result he wanted, at least O’Meara bowed out in gritty fashion with a plucky final-round level par 70.
His round featured three birdies including the 300th of his Open career on the 15th hole. He would have been one of the few players to break par in challenging conditions but for dropping a shot after making the emotional walk up the final fairway.
In fact, it was was 11 shots better than Thursday’s round, where he needed two attempts at hitting the opening tee-shot of the tournament thanks to an out-of-bounds first shot to end up opening his account with a disastrous eight.
He said: “To have my name on the Claret Jug is an amazing thing and at 41 my dream came true which was pretty neat.
“Before this week, I’d played in 31 Opens and have only missed the cut six times and I take great pride in that.
“But I wasn’t proud of my 1st round…I should have played better and I expect better. I was out of the tournament after the 1st hole, my day was toast but I still had to play.”
O’Meara certainly made amends and played well today, ensuring he signed off with a bang rather than a whimper.
“I felt good about hanging in there and shooting a quality score. There’s life in the old dog yet! “But I’ll miss it, I’ll miss this championship,” he stressed before adding “but I’ll always watch it.”