Breaking news

-6 P Mickelson (US); -4 B Koepka (US), L Oosthuizen (SA); -2 P Harrington (Ire), S Lowry (Ire), P Casey (Eng) H Higgs (US)
Selected others: -1 J Rose (Eng), C Morikawa (US); +1 M Fitzpatrick (Eng), M Laird (Sco), I Poulter (Eng), H Matsuyama (Jpn); +2 J Spieth (US); +5 R McIlroy (NI)

Phil Mickelson became the oldest man to win a major title as he claimed the US PGA Championship by two strokes in thrilling fashion at Kiawah Island.

The 50-year-old clinched his sixth major title eight years after his last at six under par on the Ocean Course.

Fellow American Brooks Koepka and South Africa’s Louis Oosthuien came in two shots back at four under par.

Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry finished in a tie for fourth at two under after closing rounds of 69.

They were level with England’s Paul Casey, who scored consistently throughout the week and posted his third 71 on Sunday, and American Harry Higgs.

Mickelson carded a closing one-over-par 73 to take the record of oldest winner from Julius Boros, who won this title in 1968 at the age of 48.

Mickelson thrills on final day

It was a final pairing packed with potential storylines: Mickelson aiming to become the oldest major championship winner, Koepka looking for victory just two months after serious knee surgery.

In the end, it was Mickelson who controlled the narrative and held his nerve during a tense final round to join Nick Faldo and Lee Trevino in 12th on the all-time major winners’ list.

Koepka was eight months old when Mickelson claimed his first title on the PGA Tour as an amateur at the Northern Telecom Open in 1991 and 13 years later the American became a major champion for the first time with the first of his three Masters crowns.

He added to those at the 2005 PGA Championship and 2013 Open, but victory at Kiawah Island must rank as the most remarkable after dropping out of the top 100 earlier this year for the first time since 1993.

Mickelson says he has being trying to improve his concentration and stay more “present” by practising meditation and other drills to increase his focus and he needed all of that composure on a rollercoaster front nine.

He began with a bogey and when Koepka rolled in a birdie from 12 feet a two-shot swing handed the 31-year-old the lead.

But a double bogey followed for Koepka as he duffed a chip from a bank behind the second green and then watched as Mickelson clipped on before sinking a birdie putt to reclaim top spot and take a two-stroke advantage on the field.

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson claimed his sixth major eight years after his fifth title

Mickelson held on to the sole lead despite a bogey at three after two loose chips around the green, but only because Koepka missed a three-footer for birdie.

And then a moment of magic from the champion, chipping in from the sand to birdie the par-three fifth and send the Kiawah Island crowd almost delirious.

Mickelson followed up with a bogey and Koepka took advantage by pulling back level, only to send a disastrous approach at seven on to the cart path on his way to another dropped shot as Mickelson got up and down for a birdie that sent him clear once more.

The veteran hit the turn with a two-stroke lead intact and increased it to four at 10 with a well-made birdie as Koepka found the sand and failed to recover.

The left-hander had a five-stroke lead at the same stage on Saturday, only to watch it evaporate over the next three holes, but not even a fan picking up his ball after a wayward drive at 11 could faze him this time as Mickelson saved par and Koepka bogeyed to drop five back, meaning Oosthuizen was once again his closest challenger.

Having avoided the water off the tee at 13, Mickelson then found it with his approach to the green and made back-to-back bogeys, though Oosthuizen dropped two shots on the same hole after also finding the water.

That meant Mickelson led by three shots with four to play.

Oosthuizen, whose sole major win came at the 2010 Open, birdied the 16th to keep the fight alive but moments latter Mickelson, who turns 51 next month, hit the longest drive of any player this week on the hole, some 366 yards, on his way to a birdie of his own.

Mickelson said he was having fun this week, though there was nothing enjoyable about the daunting par-three 17th, but he could afford to drop a shot and head to the 18th with a two-stroke advantage.

When his approach landed on the green, a boisterous crowd swarmed across the fairway and Mickelson had to push his way through to reach the putting surface to put the finishing touches on his historic win.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *