Phil Mickelson has had many historic achievements in his professional golf career that has spanned over three decades. “Lefty” shook up the sports world on Sunday evening in what may have been one of the most unlikely victories in PGA history. Mickelson, a 350 to 1 underdog to win, captured his sixth major by winning the PGA Championship at the picturesque Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, South Carolina (espn.com).
There is a saying in professional sports that says that “Father Time is undefeated”. Obviously, this means that pro sports are primarily a young man’s game. However, Mickelson was able to turn back Father Time’s clock on Sunday evening by defeating Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen (who are a combined 33 years younger than Mickelson) by two strokes. The win made Mickelson the oldest golfer to ever win a major championship, and broke Julius Boros’s record that had stood for more than 52 years.
No one in the sports world saw this coming. Perhaps that is what makes it so great! Mickelson had not won on the PGA Tour since 2019 and he had missed six cuts over the past eight months. Some golf fans had even dismissed him as a former great who could now only dominate the Champions Tour.
All of the doubters were proved wrong on Sunday evening when Mickelson lifted the coveted Wanamaker Trophy and gave a heartfelt victory speech. For a round by round recap of Mickelson’s best career win, keep reading.
Mickelson got off to a shaky start on Thursday with four bogeys in his first six holes. Some folks maybe even started to question if he would even make the cut. However, something clicked for “Lefty” on the back nine, as he put four birdies on his card. His respectable round one score of 70 (-2) was good enough for a tie for eighth place.
Things got even better for Mickelson on Friday during the second round. His swing looked more smooth and confident and he smacked a few of his trademark “bombs”. The Kiawah Island crowd went into a giant uproar when Mickelson sank a 23 footer for birdie on the ninth hole. By sinking that putt, Mickelson put the entire field on notice that he was there to contend. Mickelson’s round two score of a 69 put him in a tie with Louis Oosthuizen for the lead.
Mickelson started out moving day on Saturday in a big way by shooting four under on the front nine holes. He built a nice five shot lead by birding hole number ten, and many lifelong golf fans started wondering if they would witness history the following day. However, the rest of the round proved to be a tough roller coaster as Mickelson found the water and made a devastating double-bogey on hole 13. Surprisingly, Mickelson shook off the bad hole and parred his last five holes in a row to enjoy a one shot lead heading into Sunday.
Final Round: History is Made
Sunday started off awful for Mickelson with a bogey on number one and Koepka briefly took the lead by making birdie on the same hole. Koepka gave the lead right back to Mickelson by making a shocking double-bogey on the par 5 second hole. The two PGA legends went back and forth on the front nine, but the old man got the better of Koepka the rest of the afternoon.
The most memorable moment was on 18 when Mickelson’s 9-iron shot landed safely on the green. A wave of fans rushed around Mickelson after that shot in what was a nice slice of normalcy for us all.