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July 21 2013

12:23 PM

Mickelson birdies 18 to shoot 66

Phil Mickelson holed a 12-foot birdie putt on Muirfield’s 18th hole that may have been enough to give him his first Open Championship victory. Mickelson’s final-round 66 gave him a 3-under 281 total. He held a three-shot lead over Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood when he walked off the green.

"Today's round will be one of the most memorable rounds of golf I've ever played," Mickelson said.

Stenson only had one hole remaining, while Westwood, the 54-hole leader, has three holes to try to catch Mickelson.

Mickelson’s 66 matched the low round of the championship. He closed with birdies on four of his final six holes (Nos. 13, 14, 17 and 18). Mickelson reached the green in two with a fairway wood on the par-5 17th, then two-putted from 35 feet for birdie.

"I putted amazing today and hit it as well as I ever have," Mickelson said.

Mickelson is coming off a victory at last week’s Scottish Open. He also finished runner-up at this year’s U.S. Open. He arrived at Muirfield having finished in the top two in three of his past four starts (one win, two runners-up). "I'm playing some of the best golf of my life," Mickelson said.

Mickelson had just two top-10s in 19 Open Championship starts entering this year. He was runner-up in the 2011 Open Championship, finishing three shots behind Darren Clarke.

A win would give Mickelson five career major titles and leave him a U.S. Open victory from completing the career Grand Slam. He has been runner-up in the U.S. Open a record six times, most recently this year.

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