Phil Mickelson started Sunday 5 shots off the lead. He finished with his first Open title and fifth major championship after a stellar 5-under 66. He says that he is playing the best golf of his career and we would have to agree.

Against all odds, Phil Mickelson got a chance to celebrate early. A brilliant closing round
at challenging Muirfield made it possible.

Mickelson won the claret jug for the first time and his fifth major
championship with a 5-under 66 on Sunday, matching the best round of the
tournament on a day when the other contenders -- including Tiger Woods -- faded away.
2013 Open Champion Phil Mickelson talked with Doug Bell after coming from
behind on Sunday to win his first Open Championship and fifth major. 

Lefty birdied four of the last six holes, winning by three strokes and
emphatically erasing the memory of all those close calls that didn't go his way
-- the latest one just last month when he was runner-up at the U.S. Open for a
staggering sixth time.

"This is such an accomplishment for me," Mickelson said. "I never knew if I'd
be able to develop the game and the shots to play links golf effectively. To
play what is arguably the best round of my career, to putt the way I putted, to
shoot the round of my life, it just feels amazing to win the claret jug."

Overall, Mickelson has eight runner-up finishes in the majors, including one
at golf's oldest major championship just two years ago.

Now, at age 43, he's finally got his name on the claret jug, three-fourths of
the way along to a career Grand Slam and assuring he'll go down as one of the
greats of the game.

"I putted soooo good," Mickelson said.

He began his amazing finish with a 8-footer for birdie at the 13th, getting
his score back to even par and giving him a score that he thought would be in
the mix at the end if he simply parred out.

Mickelson did much better than that, rolling in a 20-footer at the 14th for
another birdie, reaching the green in two at the par-5 17th to set up yet
another birdie, and closing it with a 10-footer on the final hole for a 3-under
281 total.

Even though there were still four groups still on the course, Mickelson knew
he had done more than enough to win. He pumped his fists and let out a yell. His
caddie burst into tears. His wife and kids celebrated just off the green.

Lee Westwood began the day with a two-stroke lead
but was again denied his first major title. He struggled to a 75 that left him
four shots back, and Mickelson's victory was assured when Westwood didn't come
close to making the eagle he needed on the 17th.  Woods was two shots out at the
start but a 74 left him five shots behind the winner.

Mickelson was the only player to break par over four days at a baked-out
course that bedeviled the world's best golfers.

Everyone but Mickelson, that is. Henrik Stenson was the runner-up at 284. Ian Poulter
and Adam Scott finished another shot back.

"Phil must've played really well," Westwood said. "Five-under par is a good
round of golf this afternoon."


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