|-6 P Mickelson (United States); -4 B Koepka (United States), L. Oosthuizen (SA); -2 P Harrington (Ire), S Lowry (Ire), P Casey (Eng) H Higgs (United States)|
|Others selected: -1 J Rose (ing.), C Morikawa (United States); +1 M Fitzpatrick (Eng), M Laird (Sco), I Poulter (Eng), H Matsuyama (Jpn); +2 J Spieth (United States); +5 R McIlroy (NI)|
Phil Mickelson became the oldest man to win a major title by winning the US PGA Championship on Kiawah Island amidst extraordinary scenes as thousands of fans rushed down the last fairway to witness the moment of victory .
It was a comeback victory for Mickelson, 50, and a reminder of what the sport lacked in the absence of crowds during the Covid pandemic.
Fans overwhelmed the American as he walked to the green en route to clinch a sixth major title, eight years after his last.
“It was quite disconcerting, but exceptionally great. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like this before, ”said Mickelson, who won a six-under-par in the Ocean Course, two ahead of fellow American Brooks Koepka and South Africa. Louis Oosthuizen.
Mickelson carded a final one over par 73 to claim the oldest winner record from Julius Boros, who won the title in 1968 at the age of 48.
He also joins Englishman Nick Faldo and American Lee Trevino as the six-time major winner. Only 11 players won more.
Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry tied for fourth place at two under after the end of the 69 innings.
They were on par with England’s Paul Casey, who scored consistently throughout the week and posted his third 71 on Sunday, and American Harry Higgs.
Mickelson excites on the last day
They were a final couple filled with potential stories: Mickelson looking to become the oldest major league winner, Koepka looking for victory just two months after serious knee surgery.
Ultimately, it was Mickelson who controlled the narrative and held his cool in a tense finale.
Koepka was eight months old when Mickelson won his first PGA Tour title 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 from the 2005 PGA Championship and the 2013 Open, but the victory at Kiawah Island has to be considered the most notable after leaving the top 100 earlier this year for the first time since 1993.
Mickelson says he tried to improve his focus and stay more “present” by practicing meditation and other exercises to increase his focus and he needed all that composure on a new roller coaster front.
He started off with a bogey and when Koepka rolled into a 12-foot birdie, a two-stroke swing gave the 31-year-old the lead.
But a double bogey followed for Koepka as he beat a chip from a bank behind the second green, then watched Mickelson cut himself before sinking a bird putt to regain first place and gain a two stroke advantage over field.
Mickelson kept the only lead despite a three-year-old bogey 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, going from sand to birdie by three-fifths and sending the crowd on Kiawah Island almost delirious.
Mickelson followed with a bogey and Koepka took advantage of it by stepping back, to send a disastrous seven o’clock approach on the way to the wagon on the way to another fallen shot as Mickelson stood up for a birdie that allowed him to back out once more. .
The veteran hit the turn with a two-stroke lead intact and increased it to four to 10 with a birdie done well as Koepka found the sand and failed to recover.
The southpaw had a five-stroke lead at the same stage on Saturday, only to see it evaporate over the next three holes, but even a fan picking up his ball after a temperamental training at 11 could confuse him this time around as a Mickelson. saved the par and Koepka lost five points back, meaning Oosthuizen was his closest challenger again.
Having dodged the water off the tee at age 13, Mickelson then found it with his approach to the green and rode back-to-back bogeys, although Oosthuizen dropped two shots on the same hole after also finding the ‘water.
That meant Mickelson was leading three shots with four to go.
Oosthuizen, whose only major victory came at the 2010 Open, birdied the 16th to keep the fight alive, but moments later Mickelson, who will turn 51 next month, hit the longest all players’ ride this week on the hole, some 366 yards, way to a birdie of its own.
Mickelson said he was having fun this week, although there was nothing fun about the intimidating 17th par-three, but he could afford to drop a shot and head for the 18th. with a two-stroke advantage.
When his approach landed on the green, a loud crowd filled the fairway and Mickelson had to fight his way to the putting surface to put the finishing touches on his historic victory.
Harrington rolls back the years
A par eagle five seconds and a chip-in birdie on the 14th were the highlights of European Ryder Cup captain Harrington’s round as he went back through the years to get a 69 under three on Sunday and finish two under par for a share of fourth place.
This is the three-time major champion’s best result at a major tournament since winning that event in 2008.
The 49-year-old had an amazing time playing with fellow Irishman Lowry and the Open champion also posted a 69 to finish two under.
“I don’t think I enjoyed a round of golf as much as playing with Shane,” said Harrington.
“It was amazing how relaxed I was from tee to green. When you have your head in the right place, it is much easier to play the right golf. They were a very nice pair. “
Casey also shared fourth and briefly threatened to set up an early run with back-to-back birdies on two and three, but five birdies in total were offset by four bogeys as he finished four from the lead.
Justin Rose failed to beat the par in the first three days but posted one of the day’s laps with a score of five under 67 which included eight birdies, a bogey and a brace to leave the Englishman a sub for the tournament.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy was unable to tame the Ocean Course as he did when he won in 2012, the pre-tournament favorite finishing five over par.
Jordan Spieth’s wait for a career Grand Slam continues after finishing two-above par, one behind Japanese Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, while US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau passed. to three above normal with a 77th day.