(CNN) — All the talk at Muirfield has been about which drought would be broken.
Could Lee Westwood complete his 18-year quest for a major title, would world No. 1 Tiger Woods win his first in five years?
In the end, neither’s appetite would be sated because Phil Mickelson is the 2013 British Open champion.
More than two decades after his first championship appearance as an amateur at Royal Birkdale, the player known affectionately as “Lefty” finally has his hands on the Claret Jug.
Four birdies on the final five holes propelled Mickelson up the leaderboard, his stellar run prompting tears on the 18th green as the enormity of his achievement sunk in.
He told the gallery at Muirfield it was probably his finest round of golf as he finished on three-under to complete the third leg of a career slam of majors.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Mickelson. “I hit some of the best shots I’ve ever hit, putt better than I’ve ever putted. I needed to show up and play some of the best golf of my career.
“It’s a day I’ll always cherish.
“I was behind the whole day. The putt at 13 was going to make the day go one way or another.
“It’s very hard to make birdies here. I had to compose myself up to 18 because when I walking up to the green I realized this championship was in my control. That’s when I started to get emotional.
“It’s a special moment to be a part of the history this championship. This has been the biggest challenge of my career to capture this trophy.”
Mickelson leapfrogged overnight leader Lee Westwood, playing in his 62nd major. He slid back to third alongside Masters champion Adam Scott and fellow Englishman Ian Poulter on one over.
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson was second, three back from Mickelson on level par.
Woods finished out off the hunt on two-over-par and tied for sixth alongside fellow American Zach Johnson and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama.