Phil Mickelson won the British Open for the first time at Muirfield on Sunday one month after his heartbreak at the US Open where he was runner-up for a record sixth time.
The 43-year-old lefty saved his best for last as he came down the brutal back nine at the famed links course east of Edinburgh in 32 for a five-under 66.
That gave him a three under total of 281, three strokes clear of Henrik Stenson of Sweden, who had a closing 70.
Third place was shared by English pair Lee Westwood (75) and Ian Poulter (67) and Australian Adam Scott (72).
Mickelson won in what was his 20th Open campaign and it was his fifth major title after the Masters of 2004, 2006 and 2010 and the PGA Championship of 2005. It came just one month after he had endured the agony of a record sixth runner-up finish at the US Open behind Justin Rose.
The big one
“This is such an accomplishment for me because I just never knew if I had the game and shots I needed to win the Open championship,” said Mickelson, who then called the win “probably the most fulfilling of my career”.
Mickelson started the final round five strokes adrift of overnight leader Westwood, but held steady going out and then stormed down the back nine in a superb 32 at a time when all of his rivals were stumbling in the tough conditions.
It was the third straight Open won by a golfer in their 40s with Ernie Els and Darren Clarke both 42 when they won at Royal Lytham and Royal St George’s, respectively.
Mickelson also became the first player in history to win the Scottish Open and then go on to win the British Open the following week.
Tiger Woods started the day tied for second, just two off the lead, but he failed to find any spark and his record of never having won a major when trailing after 54 holes held firm as he came in at two over 286 after a 74.
Throughout the day it was a bruising battle of wiles and wills among the the world’s best golfers with no quarter given and the mighty Muirfield links showing no mercy to the faint-hearted.
Kapur’s happy ending
Shiv Kapur ensured hewould have something to cheer about when he left the 142nd Open Championships at Muirfield as he fired a closing birdie in an even par round of 71. Kapur’s final round 71, following up on 68, 77 and 83 on the first three days gave him a total of 15-over 299. “I started Thursday on such a high with the adrenaline rush. Yesterday was a bit of a disappointment when I got off to a rough start but I finished with a little bit of prid,” he said.