The 142nd Open Championship Recap
Phil Mickelson (-3) wins first Claret Jug, 5th major on heels of dazzling 66
The final round of any major is likely to see some leaderboard shifting, but what happened on Sunday at Muirfiled was almost as if those who saw themselves in contention just didn’t want to win as each faltered down the stretch. A much more reasonable explanation is that the difficulty of the course – with the famous pot bunkers and tall heather rough – caught up with the leaders and allowed the only person to go really low take home the coveted trophy. Lee Westwood was in position to win his first career major by being in the final pairing holding a 2-shot lead over partner Hunter Mahan and Tiger Woods (who was one group ahead). However, Westwood did not hit a fairway on the front nine en route to a final round 75, where he finished T3 at (+1) for the championship.
As Westwood made bogey after bogey, it allowed those in the groups ahead to catch up – but only briefly. Adam Scott (+1), Zach Johnson (+2), and Woods (+2) at one point all held a share of the lead, but each saw their own struggles mount and drifted further off the pace.
The day belonged to the one man who put together one of the most incredible back-9 (or more specifically, 13 thru 18) holes in a major championship, ever. Of course, that man is Phil Mickelson, who once again proved the accuracy of the nickname “Phil the Thrill.” Despite a bogey on 10, Phil proceeded to go on a tear by birdying four of his last six holes.
On the par 3 13th, Phil hit a 5-iron to within 8 feet where he made the first birdie, then followed that with a 20-foot birdie putt on 14. After a routine par at 15, he gets up and down at the par 3 16th after his tee shot rolled back off the green. The par 5 17th showed how good Phil can be with his 3-wood, as he crushed it over 300 yards and two-putted for birdie. The final putt on 18 was an easy rolling 12-footer that dropped and gave him a three shot lead. The putt sent the crowd into a roar, and Phil and his caddy Jim “Bones” Mackay into tears of emotion as they realized it would take a miracle for any of the remaining players to catch up. After bogeying 16, Westwood knew he needed an albatross and a birdie on the last two holes to make up the four shot difference. He used driver off the deck at 17, but it was not a well struck shot, and at that point the tournament was effectively over, sending more joy to a still emotional Mickelson family. Phil’s quote of the day: “This is probably the most fulfilling moment of my career.”
See more from Phil:
- With the win, Phil has won three of the four majors, becoming only the seventh player to do so
- Phil won The Open in his 20th career start, tying Darren Clarke’s record for most starts before a win
- Lee Westwood has the most career top-3 finishes in majors without a single victory
- Phil once again wins a major on the heels of winning an event the week before (he won the Scottish Open last week). The last person to do that before this week? Phil, when he won the Bell South Classic then the Masters in April of 2006
- Tiger Woods is now winless in his last 21 major starts, dating back to the 2008 US Open. He has not won The Open Championship since 2006
Final Leaderboard: http://www.majorschampionships.com/open-championship/event-info/past-results.html
Sunday Gallery Pictures: http://www.golfchannel.com/media/2013-british-open-sunday-gallery/
Pictures of the Week: http://www.golfchannel.com/media/top-photos-of-the-week-july-21-2013/
Quotes of the Week: http://www.golfchannel.com/media/quotes-of-the-week-july-21-2013/
Next event: July 25 – 28, RBC Canadian Open, Glen Abbey GC, Oakville, Ontario, Canada