ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Zach Johnson beat Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman in a four-hole playoff Monday to capture the 144th Open Championship as Jordan Spieth's dream of keeping his Grand Slam hopes alive came up one stroke short.
Johnson, who won the 2007 Masters, birdied the first two holes of the playoff and held a one-shot lead over Oosthuizen while Leishman fell out of contention with a bogey on the first hole. Johnson and Oosthuizen both bogeyed the third playoff hole, the tough 17th hole at St. Andrews, with Oosthuizen missing a five-foot par putt.
Holding a one-shot lead entering the final hole, Johnson saw his birdie putt leak right, giving Oosthuizen an opportunity to pull even and continue the playoff, but his birdie putt slide left of the hole.
"I can't ... I'm at a loss of words," a teary Johnson told ESPN moments after the victory. "You don't like to see a tournament end on a miss, I hate that, and Louis is a champion, and a friend.
"But I'm grateful, I'm humbled, I'm thankful, I'm honored. I mean, this is the birthplace of the game. And that jug means so much in sports, specifically this tournament, and in golf. It hasn't set in yet."
Johnson, who was born in Iowa City, Iowa, raised in Cedar Rapids and played his college golf at Drake, added his second major title eight years after winning his first.
"I don't know if I can summarize it. I've come a long way since 2007. That kind of launched my golf career. I think what this does, if anything, is put things in perspective for me. Moreso than it already has.
"I play golf for a living, and I'm grateful for that. It's a beautiful game, it provides great opportunity. I'm just so thankful."
Watching Johnson's victory from behind the 18th green was Spieth, who held a share of the lead after holing a dramatic 45-foot putt on the 16th hole. But the 21-year-old missed a par putt on the 17th hole and then drove his ball far left and into an uncomfortable yardage of 102 yards on 18. He left his approach short and right and the ball spun 30 yards down the gully.
Spieth, the Masters and U.S. Open champion, saw his birdie putt finish just left of the hole, and the dream of completing the Grand Slam in 2015 was finished.
"We gave it a great effort," Spieth said, adding that he was surprised three players finished at 15-under for the tournament in difficult conditions. "It stings a little bit, but ultimately we gave it a really good run, and there was some phenomenal golf played by those three guys."
Spieth was attempting to become the first play since Ben Hogan to win the Masters, the U.S. Open and the British Open in the same year.
"Right now it's just a tough feeling to be that close in a major," Spieth said. "It doesn't matter about the historical element of it. Just to be that close on our biggest stage and to come up just short.
"How many chances do you get? I believe I'll have plenty of opportunities like I did today, but still, when it doesn't quite work out it's tough to swallow for a little bit."
Amateur Paul Dunne, who started the round tied for the lead, struggled and finished with a 5-over 77.
David Duval, the 2001 winner, but now at age 43 spending more time commenting for the Golf Channel than playing, closed with a 1-over 73 for a total of 4-under 284. He had missed the cut the last six Opens and eight of the last 10. While saying "it was a wonderful week," he explained, "Right now I have sheer disappointment, because I didn't think I could win starting out today. I just wanted to put up a good score."
Phil Mickelson was 6-under for the round and 10-under for the tournament when he hooked a ball that not only went out of bounds but landed on a balcony of the Old Course Hotel. He took a triple-bogey 7 on the hole and finished at 3-under 69 for a 7-under 281 total. "It wasn't like it was a horrific shot," Mickelson said. "I just overturned it."
Paul Dunne, the amateur from Ireland who played at Alabama-Birmingham, deservedly received attention for sharing the third-round lead and staying in contention the final day. But another amateur, Ollie Schniederjans of Dallas, and Georgia Tech, also had a fine Open, coming in with a 67 for a 9-under 279. "Amazing final day as an amateur," said Schniederjans, who now will turn professional. "Couldn't ask for anything more special."
Dustin Johnson, who was 10-under and led by a shot after 36 holes, had back-to-back 75s in the third and fourth rounds and finished at 4-under 284, another bad finish after blowing a chance to win the U.S. Open last month by three-putting the final green.