Phil Mickelson won the 2013 British Open after shooting a five-under 66 in the fourth round and three-under for the major tournament. He entered Sunday five strokes behind Lee Westwood for the championship lead but was able to put together an impressive performance on the final day to earn this huge victory.
The official Twitter account for the PGA Tour announced Mickelson as the next recipient of the Claret Jug:
Here’s a look at the final leaderboard:
This is the fifth major championship for Mickelson and his first at The Open Championship. He was cut from the tournament last year, but finished tied for second place the year prior. Lefty has now won three different major championships, according to Tim Dahlberg of the Associated Press:
If Mickelson wins this he'll have won three of the four majors and have six runners up in the other (us open) #BritishOpen— Tim Dahlberg (@timdahlberg) July 21, 2013
A strong fourth round highlighted Mickelson’s performance at Muirfield. On Sunday, he made six birdies and bogeyed just one hole. He was fantastic down the stretch as he was four-under on the last six holes. Here’s a look at Mickelson’s birdie on the 18th hole to close out his day, per Carol Schram of Bleacher Report:
Throughout the championship, Mickelson hit 60.7 percent of the fairways, 63.9 percent of the greens in regulation and needed 2.6 putts per green in regulation.
Here’s what Mickelson said about his round, per Kelly Tilghman of The Golf Channel:
"I'm playing some of the best golf of my career. It's the best I've ever putted." -Phil Mickelson— Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) July 21, 2013
Keegan Bradley, who finished six-over, knew that Phil was going to be tough to beat:
Phil is dialed in. Seen it before. When he's dialed like this. He's about the toughest guy to beat in the world.— Keegan Bradley (@Keegan_Bradley) July 21, 2013
Mickelson becomes the first player with back-to-back wins in Scotland—as he just won the Scottish Open as well—according to Jason Sobel of The Golf Channel:
Phil Mickelson is trying to become the first player with back-to-back wins in Scotland. Must be the haggis.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) July 21, 2013
The champion was still very far from being determined as the Day 3 leaders approached the back nine. This tweet from the official Twitter account for the PGA Tour shows how many golfers were in contention:
Anyone complaining? Westwood, -1 Stenson, -1 Scott, -1 Woods, +1 Mickelson, +1 Z.Johnson, +1 Poulter, +1 Cabrera, +1 #TheOpen— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 21, 2013
Westwood held the lead entering the final round at Muirfield, but he really played poorly on Sunday. He struggled to hit the fairway on several holes, and that was one of the main reasons why he shot four-over on the day and one-over for the championship. He finished tied for third place.
One of the biggest stories of the day was the surge made by Ian Poulter. Poulter started the day tied for 19th place. Justin Ray of ESPN notes that the worst 54-hole position to win a major was Hale Irwin at the 1990 U.S. Open (T-20th):
In last century, worst 54-hole position by major winner is T-20th - Hale Irwin at the 1990 US Open. Ian Poulter was T-19th to start day.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) July 21, 2013
Poulter was five-over through the first three rounds at The Open Championship, but had a monster round on Sunday. While he bogeyed the third hole, he went on a run from the fifth to the 12th where he made four birdies and an eagle without dropping a shot. He couldn’t climb all the way back, though, as he finished one-over.
Speaking of those coming up short, Tiger Woods failed to capture the 15th major of his career on Sunday. He started the round just two shots behind Westwood for the lead, but failed to make up any ground. The three-time British Open champion shot three-over on the day to finish two-over for the tournament, finishing in a tie for sixth place.
Sunday was all about Phil, though, and his great run toward The Open Championship title.
Mickelson will only have a few weeks to celebrate his victory, as the PGA Championship, the final major of the season, is set to commence on Aug. 8 at Oak Hill. There, he’ll look to become the first to win two majors in a season since Padraig Harrington won The Open Championship and PGA Championship back in 2008.