It was a star-studded race to the finish at the 2018 Open Championship.
Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Matt Kuchar were all fighting for a position atop the leaderboards in the final round.
But for a brief moment, former UCLA men’s golfer Kevin Chappell led them all.
After being tied for first in the middle holes, Chappell finished the tournament tied for sixth place at 5-under-par, three strokes back of the winner, Francesco Molinari. It wasn’t his highest finish at a PGA major, but this weekend helped Chappell make a name for himself on the international stage.
The Fresno, California, native played at UCLA from 2004-2008, leading the Bruins to a national championship his senior year. He also won the NCAA individual championship that year, as well as Pac-10 Player of the Year and the Nicklaus Award for the best male collegiate golfer.
But before his senior season, Chappell faced tragedy after his 24-year-old brother, Stephen Casey Chappell, died of heart failure Oct. 4, 2007. Despite the emotional setback, he would become the first Bruin to win the NCAA individual championship and set several school scoring records.
Chappell went pro soon after graduating, but was unable to secure a PGA Tour victory until he won the 2017 Valero Texas Open. In his career, he has won over $15 million in 213 events.
Tiger Woods has made almost $100 million more over the course of his career.
Both golfers finished the weekend tied for sixth place.
Chappell had been struggling in the 2018 season, missing five of seven cuts from April to June. His resurgence in Scotland this weekend was a long time in the making, however.
Chappell’s friend and his former UCLA teammate Patrick Cantlay’s caddy, Chris Roth, was killed in 2016. He recently had to turn to a new swing instructor, Sean Foley, who used to instruct Woods.
The former Bruin entered Sunday two strokes back tied for fourth place after shooting 70, 69 and 67 in the first three days of the tournament. However, a 2-over 73 in the final round held Chappell back from making a final push.
Nonetheless, Chappell birdied the 18th hole, which secured him a spot at the Bridgestone Invitational. Woods was the golfer he pushed out.
Chappell wasn’t the only Bruin who made a name for himself at The Open this year. Patrick Cantlay tied for 12th with a 3-under weekend and was one of only 14 golfers to shoot below par Sunday.