KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Phil Mickelson has delivered so many thrills and spills over 30 years of pure theater that nobody ever is aware of what he’ll do subsequent.
His newest act was an actual stunner: A significant champion at age 50.
Mickelson captured his sixth main and by far essentially the most shocking Sunday on the PGA Championship. He made two early birdies with that magical wedge recreation and let a solid of contenders fall too far behind to catch him within the shifting wind of Kiawah Island.
He closed with a 1-over 73, constructing a five-shot lead on the again 9 and never making any vital errors that saved him from his place in historical past.
Julius Boros for 53 years held the excellence of golf’s oldest main champion. He was 48 when he received the 1968 PGA Championship in San Antonio.
Pure chaos broke out alongside the 18th gap after Mickelson hit 9-iron safely to simply exterior 15 ft that each one however secured a most inconceivable victory. 1000’s of followers engulfed him down the green — a scene usually seen solely on the British Open — till Mickelson emerged into view with a thumbs-up.
Chants of “Lefty! Lefty! Lefty!” chased him onto the inexperienced and into the scoring tent, his last obligation of per week he received’t quickly overlook.
Three months after 43-year-old Tom Brady received a seventh Tremendous Bowl, Mickelson added to this yr of ageless wonders. Mickelson grew to become the primary participant in PGA Tour historical past to win tournaments 30 years aside. The primary of his 45 titles was in 1991 when he was nonetheless a junior at Arizona State.
Mickelson grew to become the tenth participant to win majors in three many years, an elite checklist that begins with Harry Vardon and was most not too long ago achieved by Tiger Woods.
“He’s been on tour so long as I’ve been alive,” Jon Rahm stated. “For him to maintain that willingness to play and compete and follow, it’s really admirable.”
Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen had their probabilities, however solely briefly. Koepka was 4 over on the par 5s when the sport was nonetheless on and closed with a 74. Oosthuizen hit into the water as he was making an attempt to make a last run and shot 73.
Mickelson completed at 6-under 282
The victory got here one week after Mickelson accepted a particular exemption into the U.S. Open as a result of at No. 115 on the planet and winless the final two years, he not was exempt from qualifying. He had not completed within the prime 20 in his final 17 tournaments over almost 9 months. He apprehensive that he was not in a position to hold his focus over 18 holes.
After which he beat the strongest subject of the yr — 99 of the highest 100 gamers — and made it look straightforward.
The PGA Championship had the biggest and loudest crowd because the return from the COVID-19 pandemic — the PGA of America stated it restricted tickets to 10,000, and it appeared like twice that many — and it clear what they needed to see.
The opening hour made it appear as if the ultimate day might belong to anybody. The wind completed its change to the wrong way from the opening rounds, and whereas there was low scoring early, Mickelson and Koepka traded brilliance and mistake.
Koepka flew the inexperienced with a wedge on the par-5 second gap, might solely chip it about 6 ft to get out of an inconceivable lie and made double bogey, a three-shot swing when Mickelson hit a deft pitch from thick grass behind the inexperienced.
Mickelson holed a sand shot from wanting the inexperienced on the par-5 third, just for Koepka to tie for the lead with a two-shot swing on the sixth gap when he made birdie and Lefty missed the inexperienced properly to the precise.
Kevin Streelman briefly had a share of the lead. Louis Oosthuizen was lurking, although it took him seven holes to make a birdie.
After which the potential for any drama was sucked out to sea.
Oosthuizen, coming off a birdie to get inside three, needed to lay up out of the thick grass on the thirteenth after which despatched his third shot proper of the flag and into the water, making triple bogey.
Identical to that, Mickelson was up by 5 and headed towards the inward holes, the wind at his again on the best way residence with what appeared like your complete state of South Carolina at his facet.
Doug Ferguson, The Related Press