Eddie Pepperell began the final round 1-under par, eight strokes out of the lead, but he went out early and posted a 4-under 67 that got him to 5-under for the tournament.
When asked what led to his improved performance, the affable 27-year-old from England cited confidence from some good swings on the range, as well as the excitement of being paired with Phil Mickelson.
Pepperell also admitted that he played with a slight hangover.
“I hit the ball better on the range, which gave me some confidence, because I didn’t feel like I’d been swinging it very good this week, so – and playing with Phil [Mickelson]. Those two things gave me something to go out there with, honestly,” said Pepperell, who broke through earlier this season with his maiden European Tour win in Qatar.
“And I was a little hungover. I won’t lie. I had too much to drink last night, and you know I was so frustrated yesterday that today was really – I’m not saying a writeoff, but I didn’t feel like I was in the golf tournament, and whether I shot 69 or 73 today it wouldn’t have been heartbreaking.
“But as it happens I shot 67. So you know, it’s a funny game.”
The Englishman was the clubhouse leader for a long time, and for quite a while his 5-under score looked like it might stand. Ironically, during the broadcast, as Pepperell’s total was holding, and the on-course scores were ballooning, NBC’s Johnny Miller joked that he hoped Pepperell hadn’t started drinking yet.
It was not until Justin Rose birdied 18 to reach 6-under par that Pepperell was eliminated. His low-round 67 sent him 30 spots up the final leaderboard, into a share of sixth alongside Tiger Woods and Kevin Chappell, good for a $327,000 payday – by far his richest as a pro.
A hungover Eddie Pepperell is hanging around near the top of #TheOpen leaderboard after 67: https://t.co/vHlcyFKgFH pic.twitter.com/1sjXhVrYk6
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) July 22, 2018