In 19 prior Open Championship events, Phil Mickelson had been cut the same amount of times that he finished in the top 20. This was put to an end on Sunday as Lefty won his first career British Open, winning it in a thrilling fashion.
Coming into Sunday all of the talk was about Lee Westwood possibly winning his first major championship in the “Summer of the British”; or if Tiger Woods could end his five year major championship drought. Lee Westwood came in at 3-under, and Tiger was at 1-under, tied with Hunter Mahan. Phil headed into his magical Sunday at 2-over, tied for ninth place, and 5 shots behind Lee Westwood. Phil made a statement on Saturday after his round when he was asked what the score would be to win. He said, “I think even par will win the tournament outright or there is a chance 1-over could be a playoff. If I can come out tomorrow and shoot in the 60s I have a good chance to win the golf tournament.” Through his first 12 holes, he was 1-over for the tournament and two shots back from the lead.
Mickelson turned it on during holes 13-18. Mickelson birdied the 13th and the 14th (one of the hardest holes on the golf course), and was tied for the lead. On 17 he hit one of his best 3 woods of his career, hitting it over 300 yards. That shot set up a try for eagle, which he missed. Phil then tapped in the golf ball for a birdie. With another birdie on 18, Phil had his moment and knew the tournament was his. He finished with a 66 calling it his “best round of his career”, and won his first Open Championship. After his round, Phil shared a moment with his wife Amy and his kids that will be remembered forever; and was a signature image of the 2013 British Open. Phil Mickelson finally hoisted the Claret Jug after a dominant performance by a true champion.
– Kyle Zahour