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Mickelson claims first Open title with 66

Published: Monday, July 22, 2013 12:14 p.m. CST

GULLANE, Scotland (AP) — Phil Mickelson wondered if he’d ever win this venerable trophy, the one he proudly posed with on Muirfield’s 18th hole as photographers snapped away and fans chanted his name.

Raised on the lush, manicured courses of America, Lefty crafted a game that required one to look toward the sky. Booming drives. Soaring iron shots. Chips and wedges that floated, then spun improbably to a stop.

Beautiful to watch — except when Mickelson was trying to win the claret jug.

Links golf is played along the ground, a version of the game he fretted about ever mastering.

“It took me a while to figure it out,” Mickelson said late Sunday, another step closer to a career Grand Slam. “It’s been the last eight or nine years I’ve started to play it more effectively. But even then, it’s so different than what I grew up playing. I always wondered if I would develop the skills needed to win this championship.”

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