When Phil “Lefty” Mickelson made his PGA debut in 1988, Brooks Koepka had not been born. Tonight’s PGA Championship final round will be a unique contest pitting experience against athleticism when Koepka attempts to stop Mickelson from writing history in his bid to become the oldest player to win a major. Aged 50 years old, Mickelson enters the contest enjoying a one shot lead over Koepka after closing yesterday’s round on -7 gross.
Here are some interesting scenarios to look out for in the final round:
On the right side of history?
A win at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island tonight will make Mickelson the oldest major winner in history. The current record is held by Julius Boros, who at 48 years, 4 months and 18 days old won the PGA Championship in 1968. The second and third-oldest major champions, Tom Morris Sr. and Jack Nicklaus, were both 46 years old.
Mickelson will become the 14th golfer in history with six-plus major championships if he prevails at Kiawah Island tonight. He will join Lee Trevino and Sir Nick Faldo on six. It will be Mickelson’s sixth major championship and second PGA Championship (2005).
Following yesterday’s round Mickelson became the oldest player with a 54-hole lead in a major since 59-year-old Tom Watson in 2009 at the British Open. Unlike Watson who went on to lose in a playoff to Stewart Cink, Phil will be hoping to get the job done against the chasing pack in the regular 72-hole match.
Mickelson has not contended in a major championship since the 2016 Open and has not won one since 2013. He hasn’t won a regular Tour event in two years. In fact in the 2021 season, Lefty has featured in 14 events, including four majors, but is yet to record a top 10 finish. But do not be deceived. Mickelson has 44 career PGA Tour wins ranking 9th in the all-time high list.
Mickelson heart breaks
Mickelson has twice thrown away a 54-hole lead in majors. During the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, Mickelson was tied for the lead with Kenneth Ferrie at two over par after 54 holes. Needing just a par on the final hole to secure his first U.S. Open victory, he double bogeyed the hole to finish T2 one shot behind the leader. The same scenario unfolded at the US Open in 2013 U.S. when entering the final round as the only player under par with a one-shot lead, Lefty shot a miserly 74 to finish tied second, two shots behind the leader.
Going by the record of the PGA Championship, seven golfers stand a chance to catch Phil Mickelson. The record for a 54-hole comeback to win at the PGA Championship is seven strokes, set by John Mahaffey in 1978. A six-shot comeback to win has happened just four times- Bob Rosburg (1959), Lanny Wadkins (1977), Payne Stewart (1989) and Steve Elkington (1995). Last year, Collin Morikawa toppled Dustin Johnson despite entering the final round two shots behind.
The Brooks factor
Today’s final round pairing of Mickelson and Koepka marks the first time since 1981 that two players with at least four majors each have been paired together in the final group on Sunday of a major. The last such a marquee pairing pitted Jack Nicklaus against Tom Watson. Koepka will be going for a third PGA Championship victory in four years, a feat not achieved by any player since the PGA Championship was changed to stroke play in 1958.
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PGA Championship DStv broadcast details
All times CAT
Sunday 23 May
16:00: Day 4 – LIVE on SuperSport Golf