Phil Mickelson celebrated the most fulfilling moment of his career after winning the Open Championship at the 20th attempt.
Five weeks after suffering the heartache of a record sixth runners-up finish in the US Open, Mickelson claimed the Claret Jug and his fifth major title with a stunning five-under-par 66, equalling the lowest round of the week.
The 43-year-old finished three under par and the only man in red figures at Muirfield, three shots clear of Sweden’s Henrik Stenson with overnight leader Lee Westwood a shot further back alongside compatriot Ian Poulter and Masters champion Adam Scott.
“This is just a day and a moment that I will cherish forever. This is a really special time, and as fulfilling a career accomplishment as I could ever imagine,” said Mickelson, who had claimed his first individual victory in Britain seven days earlier in the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart. “I’m playing some of the best golf of my career. It’s the best I’ve ever putted. Today will be one of the most memorable rounds of golf I’ve ever played.
“It’s probably the greatest and most difficult win of my career. It is great to be part of any Open Championship and to win at Muirfield feels amazing.
“And it took me a while to figure it out (links golf), I would say. It’s been the last eight or nine years I’ve started playing it more effectively.”.
I’ve started to hit the shots more effectively. But even then it’s so different than what I grew up playing. I always wondered if I would develop the skills needed to win this championship. This has been the biggest challenge for me to overcome and capture this championship, this trophy.”