Dodd Holds Wins First Major at Senior Open Championship
Monday, July 26th, 2021
Stephen Dodd didn’t equal his record-tying Saturday performance in the final round of the Senior Open Championship, but he was in a good enough position on Sunday to be able to win the tournament by one stroke thanks to a clutch birdie in the 18th hole.
After shooting a 62 in the third round to tie the lowest single-round score in tournament history, his two-under 68 secured the victory—his first-ever in a major—at Sunningdale, holding off a hard-charging Miguel Angel Jimenez (65 on Sunday) and Darren Clarke (67).
Clarke was aiming to become just the fourth golfer to win the Open Championship and the Senior Open, while Jimenez was the champion of this event in 2018.
Defending event champion Bernhard Langer finished in fourth place, two shots behind Dodd.
Dodd was not among the favorites when the event started on Thursday. He had won three times on the European tour over the course of his career, but his best finish at the Senior Open Championship was tied for 14th in four previous tries.
This was also only the 55-year-old Welshman’s second competitive tournament since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, which made his clutch finish on the 18th hole that much more impressive, as he hit his second shot from the rough to within about 8 feet of the cup before sinking it in for birdie.
“I knew exactly where I was,” Dodd said of his approach shot. “I like to see the scoreboards and know what I need to do. For me, it focuses my mind more on what I need to do. I hit some decent shots coming down the last few holes.”
Dodd took home a career-best $392,800 in purse money for the victory. He also has an exemption onto the PGA Tour Champions and an automatic entry into next year’s Open Championship at historic St. Andrews in Scotland.
Other notables on the leaderboard included 2016 tournament champion Paul Broadhurst finishing fifth and Ernie Els placing tied for eighth in his first Senior Open.