Phil Mickelson takes British Open, Grand Slam within reach

2013-07-22 08:34

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Scotland’s favourite adopted son, Phil Mickelson, produced the best round of the last day to charge away with the British Open championship at Muirfield near Edinburgh yesterday.

American Mickelson, a long-time favourite of golf fans in a region where it is said the game originated, endeared himself to locals when he won the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart near Inverness on the Sunday before the Open.

Yesterday he came from five shots off the pace to overtake overnight leader Lee Westwood and a bevy of other contenders.

Mickelson’s 66 was the lowest score of the final day as a burst of birdies on the back nine helped him to overhaul the leaders and then draw away to eventually finish the champion by three shots, which prompted the Scots to suggest he should change his name to MacKelson.

By adding The Open to his list of victories, Mickelson moved his tally of Majors to five – three US Masters titles, one US PGA and now he also owns what he and his compatriots refer to as “the British”.

He therefore needs to add the US Open, a championship in which he finished second for the sixth time last month, to complete the Grand Slam of all four majors.

On a chilly day with a brisk wind blowing off the Firth of Forth, the Muirfield course continued to torment the players and fortunes fluctuated dramatically; each hole, each shot, each putt producing changes on the leader board.

Westwood, bidding for his first Major, seemed in control early on the front nine but successive dropped shots at the 7th and 8th broke his momentum and he eventually finished in a tie for third with Masters champion Adam Scott, making another strong bid to claim the Claret Jug, and England’s Ian Poulter.

Second place went to current South African Open champion Henrik Stenson of Sweden.

The leading South African was Charl Schwartzel, tied 15th, but the best moment went to Ernie Els who, although he struggled to find his best form in trying to defend the title he won at Royal Lytham & St Annes, finished off by holing his third shot from 70 metres for an eagle three at the 17th.

Els was tied for 26th with a score of 292 (11 shots off Mickelson’s winning score), Tim Clark tied 44th on a total of 294, Branden Grace tied 64th on 297 and George Coetzee tied 71st on 298.

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