Open Championship 2013 Scores: Stars Who Received Biggest Boost at Muirfield

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Open Championship 2013 Scores: Stars Who Received Biggest Boost at Muirfield
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It looks like Phil Mickelson can handle links courses now.

For virtually his entire career, Mickelson had failed to tame links courses like Muirfield. That's not an issue anymore, as Lefty put together what was one of the best final rounds you're going to see for a long while. He shot an improbable five-under 66 on Sunday to win the 2013 Open Championship.

You can see the full leaderboard below.

Mickelson had been playing fairly well all tournament, but he wasn't doing enough to be much of a threat to win. It looked as if it was going to be yet another year in which he'd fail to take home the claret jug. Instead, he stormed through the fourth round and gave a performance for the ages. His work on holes 17 and 18 were nothing short of masterful.

It's not as if Mickelson's standing in the golf hierarchy is under fire. This win is just affirmation that Lefty is one of the best golfers of his era, capable of winning in a variety of situations and at a variety of courses.

Here are three other golfers who helped themselves at Muirfield.

 

Keegan Bradley

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Keegan Bradley didn't have the best start to the Open Championship. He shot a four-over 75 in Round 1 and followed that up with a three-over 74 in Round 2. Those first two days ensured Bradley would have no shot of winning the title, yet he still managed to recover and put together two strong rounds on the back end.

On Saturday, Bradley went one under and then slightly regressed on Sunday, only shooting even par. At six over for the tournament, Bradley finished in a tie for 15th. It's still his best finish at a major tournament in 2013 after finishing 54th at the Masters and missing the cut at the US Open.

Bradley can leave Muirfield knowing he had a strong final two rounds. It's the kind of momentum he can take with him to the Oak Hill Country Club for the PGA Championship.

 

Ian Poulter

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Ian Poulter made it interesting on Sunday. He climbed up the leaderboard at a rapid pace. He finished with an eagle on No. 9 and then birdied Nos. 10, 11 and 12. GolfChannel.com's Jason Sobel thought Poulter's putting belonged on a miniature golf course.

In the end, it was too much ground to make up in too little time. Poulter ended up four under for the day and in third place at one over for the tournament, four shots off Mickelson.

Aside from the third round, Poulter did very well at the Open Championship. He shot a one-over 72 in the first round, an even-par 71 in the second round but struggled on Saturday, finishing with a four-over 75.

If Poulter had shot something like a 71 or 72 in the third round, this could have been a much different tournament. Still, he should be encouraged by a third-place finish and overall strong performance at Muirfield.

 

Brandt Snedeker

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Talk about one bad round wrecking you. In the first, third and fourth rounds, Brandt Snedeker was four under. Unfortunately, he shot an eight-over 79 in the second round that completely wiped out almost everything positive he'd done in the Open Championship and would subsequently be able to do in later rounds.

It led many, including Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde, to offer some advice to Snedeker in order to help him recover from Friday's dismal effort.

One bad round was also the story at the 2013 Masters, when Snedeker was co-leading with Angel Cabrera through three rounds. Then he shot a final round three-over 75 to limp to a sixth-place finish.

Despite that poor second round, Snedeker has reason to be encouraged from his performance at the Open Championship. He has the talent to put together a strong tournament. It's just a matter of mitigating his bad luck and not letting one bad hole turn into two, three or four bad holes.

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