Phil Mickelson flourished at Muirfield on Sunday, where he shot an untouchable 66 and won the 142nd Open Championship by three strokes.
“This is just an amazing feeling winning this great championship. And to play probably the best round of my career and hit some of the best shots that I've ever hit,” he said.
The American barely put a foot wrong as he worked his way past Adam Scott and Lee Westwood, who were tussling for the lead mid-way through the round. Mickelson’s magic touch led to birdies at the 17th and 18th and that two-stroke gain cemented his victory.
“You know, I was getting ready for today and I just thought I need to bring my "A" game today. I just need to bring it. I need to show up and play some of my best golf. And I did. I played some of the best golf of my career,” he said.
South African Open winner Henrik Stenson worked his way around in one-under-par 70 and took home sole second at level-par for the tournament. The tall Swede made three birdies on his outward nine, but hit bogey speed bumps at the 12th and 13th and was unable to recompose himself.
“I'm very pleased with my performance over the week. I've done some great improvements this season, getting back into form and this was a good week,” he said.
Overnight leader Lee Westwood struggled on the quick greens and drops at the seventh and eighth hampered his round. He failed to score on the back nine and racked up further bogeys at the 13th and 16th to finish tied third on one-over-par.
“You've got to play well to give yourself your own momentum, and I just couldn't get there today,” he said.
He was joined by Masters champ Adam Scott, who looked ready for a double major until Muirfield hit back. The Australian made consecutive bogeys from the 13th to the 16th and fell out of contention.
Ian Poulter dug deep for a Sunday 67, which boosted him into a share of third. The Ryder Cup star eagled the ninth and made birdies at the 10th, 11th and 12th, but started the day too far back.
Charl Schwartzel shot 71, which earned the 2011 Masters champ a share of 15th. The 28-year-old chalked up four birdies during the round, but Muirfield’s tough setup kept him limited to level-par for the final round.
Richard Sterne enjoyed a share of 21st after making his way around in 73 blows on Sunday, while defending champion Ernie Els shot 74 to finish tied for 26th.