AMAZING COMEBACK: Jordan Spieth hoists the Claret Jug trophy after winning the British Open at Royal Birkdale.
AMAZING COMEBACK: Jordan Spieth hoists the Claret Jug trophy after winning the British Open at Royal Birkdale. ANDY RAIN

Spieth's Open win has him in rarefied company

JORDAN Spieth has won the British Open to become the youngest player after Jack Nicklaus to win three legs of the career Grand Slam before the age of 24.

The 23-year-old is picking off Majors faster than Tiger Woods.

And the Golden Bear was in awe of Spieth's performance.

"Is Jordan Spieth something else?” Nicklaus tweeted.

But Spieth needed a back-nine birdie blitz to get him past a horror front nine and a wayward tee shot on the par-four 13th at Royal Birkdale.

Spieth's drive off the 13th was around 100 yards from the fairway and he took a penalty drop from an unplayable lie.

The rules allowed him to go back to the tee, where he lashed a three-iron just short of the green from next to some equipment trucks and got up and down.

Spieth nearly holed his tee shot on the par-three 14th, drained a monster eagle putt on the 15th and added further birdies at 16 and 17 to seal a three-shot win over fellow American Matt Kuchar on 12 under.

The American, who is the youngest man to win the Open since a 22-year-old Seve Ballesteros in 1979, said afterwards while holding the prized Claret Jug trophy: "Boy, it feels good having this in my hands. What a battle.”

But it looked like his Augusta collapse from last year was going to happen again when he fell to four-over for his round after the chaos on the 13th.

Just 15 months ago, Spieth lost a five-shot lead on the back nine at the Masters, coming undone with a quadruple-bogey seven on the 12th hole.

Bogeys on the first, third and fourth came before a birdie on the fifth and another dropped shot on the ninth.

But he regrouped with help from his caddie Michael Greller and now he goes to next month's US PGA Championship looking to become just the sixth player in history to have won all four Majors.

"My last goal now is to try and complete a career Grand Slam,” Spieth said.

"This is a very special tournament. I've had one wrapped up and didn't quite close and those thoughts start to come into your head.”

China's Haotong Li finished third after a dazzling 63 left him six under while Rory McIlroy and Rafa Cabrera-Bello shared fourth on five under.

Australian Marc Leishman finished in a five-way tie for sixth at four under after closing with a 65.