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Five thoughts on Open final round
1. Lefty puts it all together
It could be that Phil Mickelson has solved the game of golf, if that’s even possible.
The British Open was Mickelson’s fifth major championship, but it was his first British Open title, and it came right after a win at the Scottish Open, which was the first British tournament he’d ever won.
“I didn’t know in my career if I would ever develop the game as a complete player to win this championship, growing up never playing it,” he said Sunday. “I can’t explain the feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment. Today's round will be one of the most memorable rounds I’ve ever played.”
Going into the tournament, though, Mickelson had a feeling he had cracked the code. He told Golf.com he had found the secret of putting. He wouldn’t say what it was, but he drilled putts all day Sunday, including a one-putt to clinch it on the 18th hole.
“It just was going in the hole,” he said. “It was an incredible day on the greens.”
2. Tiger just can’t come back
Here’s your daily reminder that Tiger Woods has still never come from behind on the last day to win a major tournament.
When Sunday’s round started, it didn’t look like he was going to need to do anything heroic to change that reality. He was just two strokes behind the leader. But he put up six bogeys and shot a 74 in his final round, finishing tied for sixth.
Woods was confused by the greens. He expected them to be fast because it’s Sunday and that’s the way things usually go. But he got flummoxed when the greens started playing more slowly than he expected, and spent most of the day sort of moping around and missing putts.
“I never got the speed after the first day,” he said. “It progressively got slower.”
And that was a shame, he thought, because otherwise he was fine.
“I’m very pleased with the way I’m playing,” he said. “I’m right there. I hit a ton of good shots this week.”
3. Lee Westwood blows it
Well, Lee Westwood did it again. He was in position to win a major tournament on the final day, and did not win the tournament.
Most of the time, you couldn’t really say Westwood collapsed. It’s one bad shot and the guy behind you makes a great shot and it happens just like that. He’s finished in the top three of a major tournament seven times.
Sunday in the British Open, however, was a little messier than that. He bogeyed the third, seventh and eighth holes, shooting a 38 on the front nine, his worst nine-hole stretch of the tournament.
These tournaments, he noted Saturday, are the ones everybody gets up for, and against the best players in the world, the tournament leader throwing up three bogeys on the front nine qualifies as the clouds opening up and the sun shining through.
So down goes Westwood once again. Good, but not good enough.
4. Adam Scott takes the lead, loses it
Scott hadn’t been real impressed with himself lately. “Mediocre,” is how he described his play the last couple of months, so for a minute there he was happy just to feel like he was playing well again.
And then, by golly, he took the lead. It was like last year, when he also had the lead at the British Open. A big one, too. Scott found a way to blow a three-stroke lead with four holes to play at last year’s Open. He said he has tried not to think about that. But, placed in the same position a year later, how could he not?
“I was looking good with six to go,” he said.
And then: poof. Four consecutive bogeys and he was done.
“The difference today for me was a couple of weak putts out there,” he said. "I feel it’s a real wasted chance,”
5. Ian Poulter gets hot
Just nine players broke 70 on Sunday, and if you were taking bets you probably wouldn’t have gotten much action on Poulter. He fired a 75 Saturday, one of the poorer rounds carded that day, and entered the final round in 19th place.
But an eagle on the ninth hole got him going. He birdied the next three holes, finishing the day at 4-under to climb into a tie for third.
Had he come all the way back, it would have been the second-biggest comeback in the history of the tournament. As it was, it was tied for the second-best finish for Poulter in a major championship.
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