Phil Mickelson birdies four of last six holes to win British Open
BY HERB GOULD firstname.lastname@example.org July 21, 2013 1:56PM
AT A GLANCE
Event: 142nd British Open.
Winner: Phil Mickel-
son, who shot a 5-under-par 66 to
finish at 3-under 281 and win by three shots. Close behind:
Henrik Stenson finished three shots behind, and Adam Scott, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter were another shot back.
Where’s Tiger? Tiger Woods stumbled again in the final round, shooting a 3-over 74 to finish five shots back.
Notable: Mickelson’s first victory in the
British gives him titles in three of the four major championships. The only one he hasn’t won is the U.S. Open, where he has finished second six times.
Key hole: No. 13 (190 yards, par-3). Mickelson hit a 5-iron to 10 feet for the first of four birdies on his last six holes. Adam Scott, who was leading at the time, missed the green off the tee and made the first of three consecutive bogeys that derailed his chances.
Next: The next
British Open is
July 17-20, 2014,
at Royal Liverpool.
Scores, Page 49
Updated: July 21, 2013 8:58PM
GULLANE, Scotland — At the start of the day Sunday, the focus was on 54-hole leader Lee Westwood, who finally had seemed to develop the clutch
putting needed to win a major championship in his 62nd attempt.
Early on, colorful Ian Poulter drew roars as he shot a dramatic 4-under-par 67.
In the middle of the round, Adam Scott, who had won the Masters in April after blowing a four-shot lead in the British Open a year ago, started knocking down pins, making four birdies in five holes to grab the lead.
By the end of the day, though, the 142nd British Open belonged to Phil Mickelson. Coming off his sixth heartbreaking runner-up finish at the U.S. Open last month, he put on a late charge to win at Muirfield.
Mickelson birdied four of his last six holes for a 32 on the back nine and closed with a 5-under 66 to beat runner-up Henrik Stenson (1-under 70) by three shots.
‘‘Probably the best round of my career,’’ Mickelson said, unabashedly clutching the claret jug throughout his 20-minute media session. ‘‘It feels pretty cool to have this in my grasp. I hit some of the best shots I’ve ever hit, and I certainly putted better than I’ve ever putted.
‘‘I was getting ready for today, and I was thinking I had to bring my ‘A’ game. I needed to show up and play my best golf, and I did. It feels amazing.’’
Westwood (4-over 75) and Scott (1-over 72) finished tied for third with Poulter, four shots back. Tiger Woods, who began the day two shots off the lead, closed with a 3-over 74 that left him 2 over, five shots behind Mickelson.
It is the fifth major title for Mickelson, who also has won three Masters and a PGA Championship. If he ever breaks his U.S. Open jinx, he’ll be in rarefied air with the career Grand Slam. Only Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen have won the four current majors.
Much has been made of the Hall of Fame winners Muirfield has produced, and Mickelson is a worthy addition to a group that includes Ernie Els, Nick Faldo, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Nicklaus and Player.
Three consecutive bogeys on the 13th through 15th holes ended Scott’s hopes. And despite improving his putting, Westwood was betrayed by full swings that put him in bunkers.
‘‘You’ve got to play well to give yourself your own momentum,’’ Westwood said, ‘‘and I just couldn’t get there.’’
Meanwhile, Mickelson — who trailed Westwood by five shots heading into the final round — drowned his U.S. Open sorrows with a dramatic finish that allowed him to drink from the claret jug.
A 10-foot putt on the par-3 13th started his birdie barrage. Two big 3-woods on his way to a two-putt birdie on the 17th sealed the deal before a bonus birdie on the 18th.
‘‘Go, baby! Come on!’’ Mickelson shouted, encouraging his second 3-wood to reach the green on the 577-yard, par-5 17th.
It did, and he two-putted from 35 feet for a birdie that put him two shots ahead of Scott and Westwood.
‘‘I hit two of the best 3-woods I’ve ever hit,’’ Mickelson said. ‘‘That’s exactly why I don’t have a driver in the bag. As I was walking up to the green, that was when I realized that this is very much my championship, in my control. And I was getting a little emotional. I had to kind of take a second to slow down my walk and try to regain composure.’’
Mickelson, who had won the Scottish Open last week at Castle Stuart, is the first player to win the Scottish Open and the British Open in the same year.
‘‘Castle Stuart was a great place for me to get ready,’’ Mickelson said. ‘‘It gave me some great links-golf experience.’’
When asked whether he would be back at the Scottish Open next year, Mickelson replied: ‘‘Oh, yeah. Absolutely.’’