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Arguably the toughest test in golf, The Open Championship sees the best players in the world battle not just each other, but challenging courses and unpredictable weather.

Taking into consideration the undulating venues and the seaside climate, the winner of the Claret Jug will always need a bit of luck on their side, and as a result, The Open can throw out some hugely surprising winners.

Here we look at five of the biggest shocks from the last 25 years of golf’s oldest tournament.

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1999 – Paul Lawrie

Not ranked inside the world’s top 150, Paul Lawrie would likely have been satisfied in simply making the weekend at the 1999 Open – something he’d not done for four years.

Make the weekend he did, but going into Sunday 10-over-par and 10 shots off the lead, winning wasn’t on the horizon.

But an excellent 67, combined with Jean van de Velde’s astonishing collapse, saw him emerge victorious from the three-man play-off.

2003 – Ben Curtis

Perhaps the biggest shock of them all was when American Ben Curtis, barely ranked inside the world’s top 400 players at the time, conquered Royal St George’s.

Curtis put himself in contention, two shots behind Thomas Bjorn going into the final round, but despite a run of six birdies in his first 11 holes, Curtis looked to have blown his chances with four bogeys on 12, 14, 15 and 17.

Bjorn meanwhile was three clear with four holes to play, but with a bogey on 15, the Dane made the cardinal sin of not just finding the greenside bunker on 16, but taking three shots to get out of it.

Another bogey on 17 followed, and Curtis was a major champion at the very first time of asking.

2004 – Todd Hamilton

A year after the unknown Ben Curtis came the equally unknown Todd Hamilton.

Hamilton, 38 years old when he finally reached the PGA TOUR – at the eighth attempt, no less – had played in just three Opens come 2004, in 1992, 1996 and 2003, missing the cut on two occasions.

But with back-to-back 67s on Friday and Saturday, Hamilton would head a leaderboard containing Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els on -8.

Mickelson and Els would reach -8 with eagles on the fourth, with Els briefly holding an early lead on -9.

Several swings in momentum saw Hamilton lead by two with two to play, only to bogey the last, leaving Els with a putt to win – that he’d leave short.

The pair headed to a play-off, with a bogey on the third play-off hole for Els the difference as Hamilton became 2004’s Champion Golfer of the Year.

2010 – Louis Oosthuizen

It might not seem like such a shock in hindsight, considering how brilliantly he played that week and the fact he went on to record six more runner-up finishes in majors, but Louis Oosthuizen’s Open win of 2010 came in just his ninth major appearance.

At the time, he had just one European Tour win, with his other five professional wins coming on the South Africa-centric Sunshine Tour.

A three-figure price, Oosthuizen’s -7 allowed Rory McIlroy to hog the limelight after his -9 opening round.

But while McIlroy followed his up with an 80, Oosthuizen was 13 shots better and five clear at the weekend.

Four clear going into the final round, Oosthuizen coasted to the finish line, winning his first major by seven shots.

2011 – Darren Clarke

A top-10 golfer for 43 weeks with three top-10 finishes in five years. Of course, this was all a decade behind Darren Clarke in 2011.

Within three of the lead on Thursday, Clarke enjoyed the more favourable conditions on Friday to share the lead with Lucas Glover.

Clarke put himself in pole position on Saturday, leading by one from Dustin Johnson and three from the field.

Clarke had gained three shots on Johnson at the turn, whose double bogey on 14 ended his charge. Mickelson was -6 through 10 to briefly hold the lead, but four bogeys on the back nine saw him fall out of contention.

By the end Clarke was four clear with two to play, able to bogey 17 and 18 to cap a remarkable three-shot victory.

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