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Senior British Open 2021: Stephen Dodd Earns Win with Clutch Birdie on 18th Hole

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 25, 2021

SUNNINGDALE, ENGLAND - JULY 25: Stephen Dodd of Wales celebrates victory during day four of The Senior Open Presented by Rolex at Sunningdale Golf Club on July 25, 2021 in Sunningdale, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Stephen Dodd won the 2021 Senior Open Championship on Sunday at Sunningdale Golf Club in Sunningdale, Berkshire, England, with a clutch birdie putt on the 18th hole.

Dodd entered the 18th in a tie with Miguel Angel Jimenez for first place at 12 under, and the Welsh veteran avoided a playoff by rattling home a tournament-winning putt:

PGA TOUR Champions @ChampionsTour

The moment the dream was realized.<a href="https://t.co/UZXTDtPdbt">pic.twitter.com/UZXTDtPdbt</a>

Here is a rundown of the top 10 finishers courtesy of EuropeanTour.com with prize money payouts from Golf News Net:

1. Stephen Dodd: -13 (68) $392,913

2. Miguel Angel Jimenez: -12 (65) $261,988

3. Darren Clarke: -11 (67) $147,450

4. Bernhard Langer: -9 (68) $117,863

5. Paul Broadhurst: -8 (69) $99,863

6. Jerry Kelly: -7 (72) $82,538

7. Ricardo Gonzalez: -5 (69) $70,700

T8. Wes Short Jr.: -4 (70) $52,912

T8. Ernie Els: -4 (72) $52,912

T8. Yoshinobu Tsukada: -4 (71) $52,912

After tying the course record with a 62 on Saturday, Dodd entered the final round of the Senior British Open with a two-shot lead.

Dodd was an unlikely leader given that he had never won on the PGA Tour and entered the tournament with three European Tour wins and three European Senior Tour wins to his credit.

While the 55-year-old Dodd hadn't won on the Senior Tour since 2018, he played like a golfer with experience in big, high-pressure moments.

His title-winning birdie putt will likely be the highlight shown for many years to come, but it was Dodd's previous shot that may have truly won him the tournament.

After hitting his tee shot into the rough on the 18th, Dodd seemed destined for a playoff against Jimenez at best, but he flipped the script with a remarkable iron shot out of the rough and onto the green to set up the birdie:

Legends Tour @euLegendsTour

WHAT A SHOT. <br><br>Stephen Dodd sets up a 10 foot birdie chance to win the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SeniorOpen?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SeniorOpen</a> <a href="https://t.co/yqCYmC70tF">pic.twitter.com/yqCYmC70tF</a>

Following Dodd's win, Welsh countryman and 1991 Masters champion Ian Woosnam congratulated him:

Ian Woosnam @IWoosnam

Another major winner for Wales 🏴󠁧󠁒󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 congratulations Stephen Dodd. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/legendstour?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#legendstour</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/rawgolfdesign?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#rawgolfdesign</a>

Although Dodd ultimately seized the headlines, Jimenez nearly stole the tournament with a spectacular final round.

The Spaniard's 65 was the low round of the day, and he was especially strong during the latter stages of the round.

With time running out on his chances, Jimenez stuck an excellent approach shot and sunk a birdie putt on No. 17 to tie Dodd atop the leaderboard at 12 under:

PGA TOUR Champions @ChampionsTour

Ice in his veins. 🧊<a href="https://twitter.com/majimenez1964?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@majimenez1964</a> birdies 17 to take a share of the Senior Open lead. <a href="https://t.co/YljbgEO3au">pic.twitter.com/YljbgEO3au</a>

Jimenez was unable to follow up with another birdie on the 18th, though, which left the door open for Dodd and allowed him to seal the deal.

Making Dodd's win even more impressive is the fact that it came over one of the most accomplished players on the Champions Tour.

In addition to being a 21-time winner on the European Tour, Jimenez has won 10 Champions Tour tournaments, including a pair of majors.

Jimenez's most recent major win was the 2018 Senior Open Championship; however, Dodd denied him a second.