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July 22, 2013

Lefty claims a trophy he thought might elude him

(Continued)

GULLANE, Scotland —

"I believe this is the first year we've had electronic scoreboards here at the British Open, and I was able to see one right there on the 17th green," he said with a grin.

Mickelson lagged his putt right up next to the hole and tapped in for another birdie. The lead was two shots.

By the time he rolled in that last birdie, the engraver was already etching Mickelson's name on the claret jug, even though the last four groups still had to finish.

The only possible challenger, Westwood, needed an eagle at the 17th just to have a chance. But he was done when his second shot sailed off into knee-high rough.

By then, Mickelson was accepting hugs and signing autographs. He'd already signed his card for a 3-under 281 — the only player to finish below par.

Henrik Stenson shot 70 and took the runner-up award at 284. Ian Poulter shot an early 67 and thought he might have a chance at 285. Instead, he wound up tied with Scott (72) and Westwood (75).

Woods was among those another shot back after a 74, his major drought still intact. The last of his 14 championships came at the 2008 U.S. Open; 21 majors have passed since then without him pulling any closer to Jack Nicklaus' record of 18.

"I'm very pleased with the way I'm playing," Woods insisted. "I just never got the speed (of the greens) after the first day."

Mickelson was reluctant to let go of the claret jug now that it's finally in his grasp.

Not to worry.

It's his for a whole year.

"This is probably the most fulfilling moment of my career," Mickelson told the fans. "I'm very proud to be your champion."

 

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