GULLANE, Scotland — Phil Mickelson is mystified no more by links golf. He has his name etched in a silver claret jug to prove it.
Mickelson delivered his best closing round ever in a major Sunday — at the British Open, of all places — when he ran off four birdies over the last six holes for a 5-under 66 at Muirfield to win the third leg of the career Grand Slam.
‘‘This is such an accomplishment for me because I just never knew if I'd be able to develop the game to play links golf effectively,’’ Mickelson said. ‘‘To play the best round arguably of my career, to putt better than I've ever putted, to shoot the round of my life ... it feels amazing to win the claret jug.’’
At the end of a rough-and-tumble week along the Firth of Forth, Mickelson was the only player under par. He wound up with a three-shot win over Henrik Stenson, one of four players atop the leaderboard during a final round that was up for grabs until Mickelson seized control in the final hour.
Lee Westwood, who started Sunday with a two-shot lead, fell behind for the first time all day with a bogey on the 13th and never recovered. He closed with a 75. Masters champion Adam Scott took the lead with a 4-foot birdie on the 11th, and closed as sloppily as he did last year. He made four bogeys starting at the 13th, and a final bogey on the 18th gave him a 72. At least he has a green jacket from the Masters to console him this year.
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