clear
Thursday July 30th, 2015 4:12AM

Lefty wins Open for 1st time with brilliant finish

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
GULLANE, SCOTLAND -- Instead of another excruciating loss in a major championship, 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.

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."
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bartus, Icemen shuts out Gwinnett
Garrett Bartus pitched a 42 save shutout, as the Evansville IceMen topped the Gwinnett Gladiators on a New year
10:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Gator Bowl Preview Capsule
A rematch of last year's Capital One Bowl, which Georgia won 45-31 in Orlando.
8:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Millsap's 34 leads Hawks past Celtics
Paul Millsap had season highs with 34 points and 15 rebounds as the Hawks rallied from an 18-point deficit for a 92-91 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday afternoon.
7:44PM ( 1 year ago )
Sports
Falcons fire offensive, defensive line coaches
The Atlanta Falcons have fired defensive line coach Ray Hamilton and offensive line coaches Pat Hill and Paul Dunn.
7:02PM ( 1 year ago )
Best, worst of Falcons' 4-12 season
Best Game: They'd been eliminated from playoff contention previous week vs. New Orleans, but the Falcons showed some heart with Dec. 1 overtime victory over Bills in Toronto.
6:21PM ( 1 year ago )
Gonzalez's career ends with another Falcons loss
Tony Gonzalez is ready for the next chapter of his life.
9:47PM ( 1 year ago )
Professional Sports
Orioles complete sweep of Braves
Chris Tillman took a three-hitter into the ninth inning, Jonathan Schoop and J.J. Hardy homered and the Baltimore Orioles beat the skidding Atlanta Braves 2-0 on Wednesday night for a three-game sweep.
By The Associated Press
7:05AM ( 2 hours from now )
Win streak snapped in loss to Bulls
The Gwinnett Braves rallied for two runs in the eighth inning but could not come all the way back in a 5-3 loss to the Durham Bulls on Wednesday at Coolray Field.
By AccessWDUN Staff
11:26PM ( 4 hours ago )
Quinn taking up-tempo approach to rebuilding Falcons
As Seattle's defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn helped lead Seattle to two straight Super Bowls, including one championship. Quinn opens his first training camp as Falcons coach on Friday trying to overhaul Atlanta's woeful unit.
8:52PM ( 7 hours ago )
VIDEO: Kyle Busch makes historic sweep at Indianapolis
For those who doubted Kyle Busch could come back and contend for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship after his injuries earlier this year - those doubts should be firmly put to rest after Sunday.
8:02PM ( 8 hours ago )
Adam Smith drives to FASTRAK PLM victory at Toccoa
Adam Smith did something Saturday night that few race car drivers can boast – he beat two of the hottest dirt Late Model drivers in North Georgia.
4:00PM ( 12 hours ago )