Phil Mickelson breaks down key crowd-erupting chip-in from waste bunker

Phil Mickelson raises his arms after chipping in for birdie on the 5th hole.

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Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka traded punches early on Sunday. Mickelson gave up his one-stroke lead after just one hole, but he made it a three-shot swing when he birdied 2 and Koepka made double bogey. It continued from there for a few more holes — back and forth — but you know how this one eventually ended, with Mickelson winning the 103rd PGA Championship for his sixth major title.

But before that 18th-green celebration, the 2021 PGA Championship really heated up on the par-3 5th hole. Mickelson was at six under and led Koepka by one, but Koepka found the green on 5 while Mickelson missed left and was short-sided in the waste bunker. Advantage: Brooks. Until it wasn’t.

From an almost identical spot of where Louis Oosthuizen made bogey in the pairing ahead, Mickelson splashed out and rolled it in for a birdie 2. The Mickelson-leaning crowd burst into a frenzy. For the first time in a long time due to Covid-19, it felt like fans were really at a golf tournament. They roared. Twitter went nuts. Koepka two-putted for par and Mickelson led by two.

Mickelson called it a “momentum-builder.” We’d agree.

“Biggest thing was getting that up and down — I just didn’t want to throw away another shot,” Mickelson said. “I had fought hard to keep the round in check and was still one over through four, so I just needed to get that up and down, and to have it go in was a bonus. I knew I had a lot of work ahead.”

The lead didn’t last, as Mickelson bogeyed 6 and Koepka birdied it to tie him, but the reverse happened on 7 and it was back to a two-shot Mickelson advantage. Lefty never trailed again. Hours later he hoisted the Wanamaker Trophy.

“He never doubted himself,” said his brother/caddie, Tim Mickelson. “His will and desire to win now is as high as it’s ever been.”

Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.