Biggest Open Championship Comebacks

A selection of the biggest Open Championship comebacks

Biggest Open Championship Comebacks
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We take a look at the biggest Open comebacks after Justin Rose fires a third-round 64 to move into contention

Biggest Open Championship Comebacks

Justin Roses' record-equalling 64 at a Carnoustie Open saw the Englishman shoot up the leaderboard, from three over overnight, to two shots off the lead on completion of his third round.

Whilst the later starters on Saturday have made fast starts, Rose, with another low one on Sunday, could yet record one of the biggest ever Open comebacks.

Biggest Comeback By A Champion, 54 holes, Paul Lawrie, 1999, Carnoustie, 10 shots

Jean Van de Velde squandered a three-shot lead on the final hole, which saw the Frenchman contest a three-man playoff with Justin Leonard and Paul Lawrie. The Scot posted a final-round 67, which was the low round of the day, but Van de Velde's horror finish opened the door.

Lawrie birdied the last hole of the four-hole playoff to take full advantage. It completed a 10-shot comeback, the largest ever in Major Championship history.

Biggest Open Championship Comebacks

Paul Lawrie with the Claret Jug at Carnoustie in 1999 [Getty Images]

Biggest Comeback By A Champion, 36 holes, George Duncan, 1920, Royal Cinque Ports, 13 shots

Should Rose come from nine back after 36 holes, it won't be good enough to beat Duncan's record - not that he'd mind. Duncan shot 71-72 in his final two rounds, recovering from a pair of 80s to win by two and take the £75 first prize.

Biggest Open Championship Comebacks

George Duncan in action at St Andrews in 1927 [Getty Images]

Biggest Comeback By A Champion, 18 holes, Harry Vardon, 1896, Muirfield, 11 shots

Not many golf tournaments are won after posting an opening round of 83. However, Vardon followed that with a pair of 78s and no one bettered his 77 in the final round.

The great Harry Vardon, a six-time Open winner [Getty Images]

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Greg Norman's Open challenge at Royal Troon in 1989 is well worth a mention, even if the Australian did come up a fraction short.

Starting the day seven shots back, Norman posted a 64 - at the time the joint lowest round in Open history - to force himself into a playoff alongside Wayne Grady and eventual winner, Mark Calcavecchia.

Michael Weston
Contributing editor

Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.