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Mickelson fires 66 to claim first Open title

Phil Mickelson
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In what he later described as 'probably the best round of my career,' Phil Mickelson began the final day at Muirfield five shots off the lead but ended as the only man under par. Here's a look at how things ended up in Gullane, Scotland, where Mickelson got his hands on the claret jug for the first time:

Leaderboard: Phil Mickelson (-3), Henrik Stenson (Even), Adam Scott (+1), Lee Westwood (+1), Ian Poulter (+1), Tiger Woods (+2)

What it means: Where to start? A month ago, a sixth runner-up finish at the U.S. Open drew questions as to whether Mickelson would ever again win a major. Sunday at Muirfield, Lefty put the doubters to rest, seizing control of the tournament when as many as eight players had a legitimate chance to win. It's the fifth major of his career and gets him the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

Round of the day: Beginning the day five shots off the pace, Mickelson got off to a solid start with birdies on Nos. 5 and 9 to get back to even par for the week. After a bogey at the 10th, his lone dropped shot of the day, Mickelson responded with back-to-back birdies at holes 13 and 14 and closed in style, reaching the par-5 17th in two shots and holing a birdie putt on the final green to post a 5-under 66, the day's low round.

Best of the rest: Like Mickelson, Poulter began well off the lead and appeared like he might grab the title by posting a low score early. The Englishman was 5 under across holes 9-12, including an eagle at the par-5 ninth, to get himself to even par with the leaders just beginning their round. Though a bogey on the 16th hole dropped him back to 1 over and largely eliminated his chance to win, Poulter still shot 4-under 67 Sunday.

Biggest disappointment: Starting the final round equipped with a two-shot lead, this appeared to be Westwood's best chance to win his first career major. An outward 2-over 38 included three bogeys and no fairways hit, though, and Westwood lost the lead with a bogey on the 13th hole. He ultimately carded a 4-over 75, stymied by bunkers throughout the final round and unable to hole putts when needed. As he did at the 2010 Masters, Westwood watched his 54-hole advantage turn into a major triumph for Mickelson.

Shot of the day: Standing in the fairway at the par-5 17th hole, Mickelson held a share of the lead along with Stenson and Scott. His fairway wood barely cleared the cross bunkers, bounding up to the edge of the green and settling within 40 feet of the hole. A two-putt birdie gave Mickelson the lead on his own, a margin that he would increase a few minutes later with a birdie at the 18th hole.

Quote of the day: 'This is probably the most fulfilling moment of my career.' – Mickelson