Louis Oosthuizen joined Russell Henley in a share of the lead as the opening round of the U.S. Open was interrupted, while Phil Mickelson's quest for back-to-back majors got off to an awful start at Torrey Pines.

A fog-enforced delay meant the start of the major tournament was pushed back by around an hour and a half on Thursday, and while Oosthuizen was unable to finish his round, the 2010 Open Championship winner still ended the day alongside Henley atop the leaderboard.

Oosthuizen – one of three players to finish in the top 10 at each of the last two U.S Opens, joining Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele – moved into a tie at four under after birdieing the 14th hole in San Diego.

Henley had set the early pace after claiming an early lead behind his impressive four-under-par 67, which was enough for him to initially head back to the clubhouse with a one-shot lead over Francesco Molinari and Rafa Cabrera Bello.

It was Henley's sixth career score of 67 or better in a major championship and first since the 2018 US PGA Championship (65 in round two).

Molinari and Cabrera Bello remain a stroke off the pace heading into Friday, with the first round scheduled to resume at 06:50 local time.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is not far behind following his two-under-par 69 to kick off his pursuit of a fifth major crown.

Koepka, who finished second behind Mickelson at the PGA Championship, set the standard with four birdies in his first 11 holes taking him into a solo lead.

However, two bogeys meant he had to scramble to recover as Koepka ended the day alongside Schauffele, Hayden Buckley, Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, John Rahm (through 17) and Sebastian Munoz (through 14).

Koepka has gone on to win or finish second in six of the last 10 majors which he opened with a score in the 60s.

World number one Dustin Johnson and star Rory McIlroy were both through 17 holes when play was called for the day.

Johnson had mixed a birdie with a bogey, while four-time major champion and 2011 U.S. Open winner McIlroy had an eventful start with three bogeys and four birdies.

Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau and his bid for back-to-back trophies started with a two-over-par 73.

American star Mickelson ended the round two shots worse off than DeChambeau following his forgettable 75.

Mickelson, who became the oldest major winner when he clinched the US PGA Championship last month, finished with five bogeys, including back-to-back on the front nine.

Russell Henley took the early lead at the U.S. Open, with former world number one Brooks Koepka not far behind, though Phil Mickelson struggled.

Henley shot an impressive four-under-par 67 at Torrey Pines on Thursday to head back in the clubhouse with a one-shot lead over Francesco Molinari and Rafa Cabrera Bello.

Heading in at fourth was four-time major winner Koepka, the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Open champion going round in 69 on the opening day.

Koepka has been involved in one of the big stories in the build-up to the major amid his feud with defending champion Bryson DeChambeau making headlines, albeit the latter dismissed it as "banter back and forth in good fun."

With DeChambeau teeing off later in the day, Koepka set the standard with four birdies in his first 11 holes taking him into a solo lead.

However, two bogeys meant he had to recover with two pars to finish on two under, giving Henley the early advantage.

Ahead of Koepka, Molinari – who has fallen outside the top 150 in the world rankings – was back to his best, with his brother Edoardo just two shots behind on one under.

There was no such luck for six-time major champion and American star Mickelson, whose chances of claiming this elusive tournament look slim.

Mickelson became the oldest major winner when he clinched the US PGA Championship last month, but shot a four-over 75, which included successive bogeys.

Another former US PGA Championship winner to struggle was Collin Morikawa, who also finished on four over.

"It's not the start I wanted, bogeying every par-three, and I think I had like three three-putts today. It's not acceptable," he said.

"It's not how you keep yourself in a tournament on a Thursday. You know what, this course is going to play tough, and still got at least tomorrow to just grind it out and see how it goes. I had some stretches of decent golf, I've just got to keep doing that and really not compound the errors."

The pursuit of major glory at the U.S. Open got underway after a fog-enforced delay on Thursday, with favourite Jon Rahm among a host of contenders primed for action at Torrey Pines.

As two groups went out after the fog had cleared at around 08:15 local time at the first and 10th holes, around an half and half later than planned, the big names were waiting in the wings, with Rahm hotly tipped for success.

Rahm, who suffered a coronavirus-enforced withdrawal when he led after three rounds at the Memorial Tournament this month, is scheduled to head out at 15:36.

The Spaniard has never won a major and has a best finish at the U.S. Open of third in 2019.

Reigning champion Bryson DeChambeau will begin his title defence at 15:14 in a group with Masters holder Hideki Matsuyama and Tyler Strafaci.

DeChambeau's rival Brooks Koepka, who won back-to-back U.S. Opens in 2017 and 2018, can attempt to apply some pressure when he goes out at 09:29 with Justin Thomas and last year's US PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa.

The man who took that honour from Morikawa, Phil Mickelson, can complete the Grand Slam this week, and Lefty will tee off his bid to join that elite club at 09:51. He has been runner-up six times in this event.

Rory McIlroy, a winner in 2011, will seek to add a fifth major when he gets his tournament up and running at 15:36 alongside 2013 champion Justin Rose and world number one Dustin Johnson.

Tiger Woods began his U.S. Open bid with a double bogey in 2008 at Torrey Pines – "a terrible start", said the man who four days later took the title in a sudden-death play-off, after he and Rocco Mediate could not be separated in a two-man fifth round.

The 18-hole play-off scenario is now history, so there will no repeat of such a marathon effort as the major returns after 13 years to the San Diego course this week, and there will be no Woods either.

That 2008 triumph was a 14th major for the American, yet he had to wait another 11 years until the 15th arrived, the man who once seemed booked in to take the major titles record away from Jack Nicklaus having seen perceptions of his life switch from fairy tale to soap opera.

Woods in 2008 was privately fighting the pain of a double stress fracture of his left tibia that he kept under wraps. Yes, he won the U.S. Open with a broken leg.

Whoever lifts the trophy this Sunday is unlikely to have to overcome the tribulations that faced Woods across that long weekend, and the superstar's absence is sure to be felt ... until the first round begins to take shape and a new narrative plays out.

Back in 2008, tournament organisers upped the intrigue by grouping Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott – the world number one, two and three – together for the opening two rounds.

Local favourite Mickelson recalls the moment when Woods fluffed his opening hole.

"I thought that was pretty inspiring the way he didn't let that affect him," Mickelson said this week. "He stayed to his game plan, stayed focused, stayed patient, and ended up kind of picking his spots where he could get a shot back here or there, and he did, and he ended up winning. That's impressive."

After completing his opening round, Woods said his mindset after shooting six at the first was to "just be patient, long way to go", and he finished one over par.

By the end of day two, Woods stood tied for second place, with Mickelson and Scott in a group sharing 35th position.

"The atmosphere for the whole 36 holes that I played with Phil and Tiger was incredible," Scott recalled earlier this year. "But Thursday morning the energy around the first hole was like I can't compare it to anything else actually.

"It was not even like teeing off at the Masters or anything like that. The build-up ... Tiger obviously being Tiger and Phil, the local hero, one, two and three in the world, of course I was like the third wheel hanging off the back, but it was really fun to be a part of that."

Of course Woods is a once-a-generation talent, but should anyone make a similarly poor start this week, it would be wise to take the blow on the chin and move on.

This course, the long-time home of the annual Farmers Insurance Open, should reward a steady temperament.

Mickelson, fresh from his shock victory last month at the US PGA Championship, where he became the oldest winner of a major, described the Torrey Pines greens on Monday as "very challenging".

"There's a lot of pitch, a lot of contour, and as they get firmer, they're significantly firmer than just the last two days," he said.

"It's very difficult to get it to some of the pin positions, and it's going to be a difficult test. As long as it is at sea level it's going to be a difficult task, but it seems like the set-up is pristine, and it's going to be a fun, very difficult challenge."

 

WHO WILL WIN THIS TIME?

With Woods out of the picture, recovering from the car crash he was said to have been fortunate to survive in February, there will be no repeat of his famous success 13 years ago.

Woods has won the Farmers Insurance Open a record seven times too, so he would have been relishing this week. Brandt Snedeker and Jason Day are both two-time winners of that tournament, and Mickelson has been champion three times, but not since 2001.

Mickelson is seeking the trophy that would give him a career grand slam, but it seems fanciful to expect him to challenge, having rarely been a factor in the majors in recent years until his unexpected win at Kiawah Island.

Stats Perform has taken a combination of factors to build a list of potential contenders, assessing past performance at the Farmers Insurance Open but also weighting displays in majors and recent PGA Tour form.

These scores are built around performance at Torrey Pines from 2016 to this year.

In the calculations, top-10 finishers at the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open receive points on a scale from 15 for the champion down to six points for 10th place. This decreases on a year-by-year sliding scale to 10 points for the 2016 tournament winner and one point for 10th place in that event.

There is also two points awarded per top-10 finish on the PGA Tour in the 2021 season, and substantial points availability for recent major success (10 points per major title in 2020 and 2021, 8pts in 2019, 6pts in 2018, 4pts in 2017, 2pts in 2016).

Not all players in the U.S. Open field have played the Farmers Insurance Open each year, and some are rarely active, if at all, on the PGA Tour, but this may give an inkling of the players who could come into contention at the year's third major.

TONY FINAU, 52 points: Finau followed up three top-10 results at the Farmers (2017, 2018, 2020) by finishing a joint runner-up in 2021, pointing to a clear liking for the course. How he enjoys it later in the year than he usually encounters Torrey Pines remains to be seen. Finau also has seven top-10 finishes of tour in the 2021 season.

JON RAHM, 52 points: His first major title is arguably overdue, given his talent and week-by-week results. Rahm was Farmers champion in 2017 and runner-up in 2020, also finishing top 10 in 2019 and 2021. He has a tour-leading 10 top-10 finishes this season, and would surely have had a win at the Memorial Tournament earlier this month before a positive COVID-19 test ended his title charge after 54 holes.

PATRICK REED, 42pts: This year's champion at the Farmers Insurance Open, Reed was also top six there in 2020, has had six top-10 results on tour this season and landed a Masters title in his not-too-distant past.

RYAN PALMER, 33pts: Palmer tied for second earlier this year at Torrey Pines, just as he did in 2018. Those performances and his four top-10 finishes on tour this year make him perhaps the surprise name on this list.

BROOKS KOEPKA, 32pts: Koepka missed the cut this year at the Farmers and did the same in 2017, and he did not play the tournament in the intervening years. Although Koepka has little left to prove in a wider sense – his mountain of points here is accrued through past major wins and a healthy batch of top-10s this season – he has yet to master Torrey Pines. Koepka has also missed the cut at three of his most recent four tournaments this year.

RORY MCILROY, 31pts: Top-five finishes at the Farmers in 2019 and 2020 augur well for McIlroy, and his five top-10 finishes on tour this season is a tally he will aim to add to over the coming days. It may be asking a lot to expect him to carry off the title, but another high placing would seem realistic.

Next on the list: Justin Rose (30pts), Brandt Snedeker (29), Viktor Hovland (26), Xander Schauffele (26), Jason Day (25), Marc Leishman (25), Hideki Matsuyama (25) and Keegan Bradley (24).

Only five men have achieved golfing immortality by winning each of the four majors and completing the coveted Grand Slam.

Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen stand alone among the pantheon of greats to have topped the leaderboard at The Open, the U.S. Open, the US PGA Championship and the Masters.

Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Walter Hagen are among the sport's legends to have accomplished three legs of the Slam – an impressive feat in itself.

Indeed, three active players are just one away and each is eyeing a different title. Rory McIlroy is missing a Masters, Jordan Spieth a PGA Championship and Phil Mickelson a U.S. Open.

For Mickelson, it is certainly not for want of trying – on six occasions he has finished second or tied second for a prize he so greatly craves.

It appeared as though his chances were waning as Father Time had seemingly caught up with a true great. But then, Mickelson upset all the odds to win a sixth career major and second PGA Championship at Kiawah Island last month at the age of 50, making him the oldest player to win a major tournament.

With renewed hope at finally claiming the missing piece of the puzzle, we assess the chances of Mickelson, Spieth and McIlroy in the race to complete the Grand Slam.

PHIL MICKELSON

In terms of a straight race, you could argue that 'Lefty' is in pole position merely because his opportunity is next up.

Moreover, Mickelson has history at Torrey Pines – hosting the U.S. Open for the second time having last done so in 2008 – a venue where he is a three-time winner, albeit the last of those was in 2001.

But that in itself is testament to Mickelson's astonishing longevity, and he made a mockery of suggestions his major-contending days were over at Kiawah Island.

Still, to mix it at that sort of level in the 50s (Mickelson turns 51 on Wednesday) on a regular basis is tough. Indeed, the unexpected triumph was his only top-10 finish on the PGA Tour this season, while he ranks down at 167th for scoring average.

While he does impressively still average over 300 yards off the tee (302.8), in terms of fairway accuracy Mickelson is down at 199th (51.16 per cent), and a putting average of 1.791 would need to be improved to contend.

All in all, you would be a fool to say Mickelson cannot complete the Slam but, speaking pragmatically, even accounting for his PGA Championship heroics, it will take a monumental effort to go back-to-back in the majors this weekend.

RORY MCILROY

A player of outrageous talent whose career in terms of majors has perhaps not quite hit the heights many tipped him to reach.

McIlroy has four to his name thus far, the last of which arrived at the 2014 US PGA Championship. At that stage, it appeared a question of how many he would win. 

It has been a decidedly mixed bag since at the majors, and there is no doubt winning a green jacket is a prize McIlroy would crave above all others in his career.

There have been plenty of close calls at Augusta, where he has six top-10 finishes, and that does not include the 2011 tournament where McIlroy led heading into the final round before enduring an excruciating Sunday that saw him finish way down in 15th.

Once upon a time it would have sounded unthinkable McIlroy would never win a Masters. It's not as clear cut now perhaps, but there are many opportunities left for a player still only 32 years of age.

McIlroy has endured inconsistent form this season, but was a recent winner at the Wells Fargo in a sign that things are slowly starting to click back into place.

His scoring average of 70.363 is the 31st best on the PGA Tour this season, while he ranks tied 14th for top-10 finishes (five).

Only Bryson DeChambeau averages longer off the tee than McIlroy's 318.6 yards but he is way down in 173rd for driving accuracy, while a putting average of 1.740 is something he will be keen to improve.

JORDAN SPIETH

One of the most pleasing aspects of recent months has been the resurgence of Spieth, who had slipped as low as 92nd in the world rankings having missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year.

But eight top-10 finishes – including a win at the Valero Texas Open – has catapulted him back up to 23rd and many fancied him to complete the Slam at the PGA Championship.

Despite fleeting flashes of promise, Spieth could only finish down in 30th but crucially – much like McIlroy – time is on his side. Indeed, due to the early career success that has seen him become a three-time major victor, it is easy to forget he is only 27.

Prior to Mickelson's triumph last month, the smart money would have been on either McIlroy and Spieth to do the Slam first and perhaps it still is.

Indeed, Spieth probably remains a solid bet to deny Mickelson's own hopes this weekend. He is 21st for scoring average (70.178) and second only to Jon Rahm (10) for top-10 finishes with eight.

Not known as a particularly big hitter off the tee, Spieth is down at tied 83rd for driving distance (298.0) and 184th for driving accuracy but only nine players have a lower putting average than his 1.716.

VERDICT:

In terms of immediate chances then, yes, of course Mickelson has the edge. But logic suggests that it will need a monumental effort for him to repeat what he did at Kiawah Island at Torrey Pines. McIlroy and Spieth can, theoretically at least, continue to compete at the top for the best part of the next two decades. If they do, both have ample opportunity to secure the Grand Slam. As for who does it first…well given the Masters is closer than the PGA then let's go with McIlroy. Check again next April!

Bryson DeChambeau told Brooks Koepka "it's nice to be living rent free in your head" as the two PGA Tour stars traded barbs on social media.

There is no love lost between DeChambeau and Koepka, particularly after footage of the latter emerged during a post-round interview at the US PGA Championship.

In a leaked viral video, four-time major champion Koepka was seen rolling his eyes at reigning U.S. Open winner DeChambeau and cursed in frustration during the interview.

'The Match' was announced on Wednesday, with DeChambeau partnering Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in an exhibition battle against PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson and Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar Tom Brady.

Afterwards, Koepka and DeChambeau continued their growing feud as the former tweeted: "Sorry bro @AaronRodgers12."

DeChambeau responded by tweeting: "@BKoepka It's nice to be living rent free in your head!"

Amid the exchange, six-time major winner Mickelson wrote: "I feel like I'm in the middle of something and should step aside. [Except they want the CURRENT PGA champ:]."

There has been tension since 2019 after Koepka called out DeChambeau for slow play, while the later responded by taking aim at his fellow American's physique in 2020.

"I don't think his genetics even make him look good," DeChambeau said. "Did you see The Body Issue? He didn't have any abs. I have abs."

'The Match' will take place on July 6 at Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Montana.

Mickelson has been a regular at this event since the first instalment in 2018, where he defeated Tiger Woods in a one-on-one match up to earn a lucrative $9million payout.

In May 2020, Mickelson first partnered NFL legend Brady – who earned a seventh career Super Bowl ring by leading the Buccaneers to glory in February – where they were beaten by Woods and Peyton Manning.

Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson will reunite for 'The Match' in a blockbuster showdown with Aaron Rodgers and Bryson Dechambeau - and the playful trash talk has already begun.

Mickelson made history on Sunday by becoming the oldest major winner of all time with a two-shot victory at the US PGA Championship.

The 50-year-old has been a regular at this event since the first instalment in 2018, where he defeated Tiger Woods in a one-on-one match up to earn a lucrative $9million payout.

In May 2020, Mickelson first partnered NFL legend Brady – who earned a seventh career Super Bowl ring by leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to glory in February – where they were beaten by Woods and Peyton Manning.

And six months ago, 'Lefty' partnered NBA legend Charles Barkley to overcome Manning and Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry.

Once the announcement for the latest version, which will take place on July 6 at Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Montana, was made Brady could not help but take a light-hearted dig at the Green Bay Packers' star quarterback Rodgers.

"Two old guys against the young bucks @PhilMickelson. @b_dechambeau better get used to laying up because we know @AaronRodgers12 isn't going for it," Brady wrote on Twitter.

Mickelson also took to social media, posting: "It's game time! My partner @tombrady and I are back and ready to settle some unfinished business. See you in Montana @AaronRodgers12 @b_dechambeau."

It was revealed on the PGA Tour's official website that 'The Match' will "include donations made to Feeding America, among additional charitable beneficiaries", and the competition format will be modified alternate shot match play.

Former world number one Jordan Spieth said he would not be surprised if this week's US PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson had another major title in him.

Mickelson, 50, made history as the oldest major winner on Sunday when he triumphed at the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in South Carolina, claiming his sixth career major title.

The American's major victory in the twilight of his career was similar to golf greats Tiger Woods at the 2019 Masters and Jack Nicklaus at the 1986 Masters.

Spieth was full of praise for his childhood hero and long-time mentor, when speaking ahead of this week's Charles Schwab Challenge at the Colonial Country Club in Texas.

"It seems like all the great ones have that one left at the end," Spieth said.

"I know he'll probably tell you, he thinks he's got more than one left. I don't think anybody will doubt him after this one, but I think it's just wild. I think it's incredible."

The 27-year-old, who has won three major titles, said he watched on in awe as Mickelson triumphed on Sunday for his first major victory since 2013.

"I thought it would be very, very difficult," Spieth said. "He hadn't been in contention in quite a while on the PGA Tour against the guys he was in contention with.

"I know he's won many times on the Champions Tour… I think that might have been something that had been helpful for him as he's coming down the stretch.

"It's just so difficult to be in contention for the first time in a while and be able to tap into that confidence that you're supposed to be there and you're supposed to win."

Spieth's career skyrocketed after playing alongside Mickelson at the 2013 Deutsche Bank Championship where he shot a final-round 62. That round prompted Mickelson to call US Presidents Cup Captain Fred Couples to insist on calling up Spieth.

The Texan has long held an adoration for Mickelson, revealing he had got his prized signature in his youth. That adoration has been further reinforced by the recent fears of Mickelson, 23 years Spieth's senior.

"His streak of not being outside the top 50 in the world for however long, that is going to be a very difficult task for anybody going forward to match," Spieth said.

"Then to win a tournament, let alone a major championship, at 50 with how young and stacked the game has gotten is just an incredible feat.

"I think the way he handled Saturday and Sunday, when he did make mistakes - especially on the back nine on Saturday to then close that out and remain in the lead - it was typical Phil."

The old adage suggests life begins at 40, and in sports there have been several instances of stars celebrating glorious triumphs in the twilight of their career.

Phil Mickelson became the latest history maker on Sunday with a memorable US PGA Championship victory at the age of 50, making him the older male major winner of all time.

A two-shot victory over Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen made Mickelson a six-time major winner, and marked his first since he topped the leaderboard at The Open in 2013, aged 43.

But Mickelson is by no means the first sportsperson to prove that age is just a number. Here we remember some of the greatest achievements by those of advancing years (at least in sporting terms…).

BRADY BUCS THE TREND AT SUPER BOWL LV

When Tom Brady ended his lengthy association with the New England Patriots, some doubted whether he could emulate his unrivalled success at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Those people were wrong. Already the oldest quarterback to have won a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots two years prior, Brady's memorable triumph with the Bucs over the Kansas City Chiefs at Super Bowl LV back in February saw him become the oldest player to win a ring, aged 43.

HOPKINS PUNCHES TICKET INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS

Boxing has a long history of fighters continuing well into their later years, and often times they prove ill-advised decisions.

But Bernard Hopkins certainly does not fall into that category. The all-time great first became boxing's oldest ever world champion when he defeated Jean Pascal in May 2011 to win the WBC and IBO light-heavyweight titles aged 46.

Two years later, he broke his own record by toppling Tavoris Cloud to win the IBF strap, and then in April 2014 – at the age of 49 – defeated Beibut Shumenov to add the WBA's belt to his collection.
 
FANGIO FINDS THE FORMULA TO SUCCESS

Revered by many as the greatest Formula One driver of all time, Juan Manuel Fangio certainly has a record to stack up against the best.

The Argentinian had seven full seasons in F1 and was world champion five times with four different teams and runner-up twice, while there were 24 wins from 51 Grands Prix.

The last of his F1 title-winning seasons occurred in 1957 at the age of 46, making him the series' oldest champion of all time.

NOTHING IS ZOFF LIMITS FOR VETERAN DINO

Dino Zoff is not the oldest player to ever feature in a World Cup fixture, that honour belongs to Essam El Hadary, who was 45 when he played in Egypt's final group-stage match against Saudi Arabia in 2018.

But the Italy legend does hold the record as the oldest player to win the World Cup when he lifted the trophy aged 40 years, four months and 13 days in a 3-1 victory over West Germany in 1982 in front of a bumper crowd of 90,000 in Madrid.

ROSEWALL AND SERENA ARE ACE

Serena Williams and her sister Venus have made a mockery of Father Time in women's tennis over the past two decades, while Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have dominated the men's game in their 30s.

But still, greatness should still be recognised and the last of Serena's grand slam titles at the 2017 Australian Open (when she was eight weeks pregnant no less!) saw her become the oldest female slam winner of all time.

In the men's game, the honour does not belong the three aforementioned modern-day greats (though who would bet against one of them doing it one day?). That benchmark lies with Ken Rosewall, who was 37 years, two months and one day old when he won in Melbourne in 1972.

PHIL TOPPLES BOROS

In the context of Mickelson's triumph, it seems only fair to mention the man who previously held golf's major benchmark.

Julius Boros was 48 when he won the 1968 PGA Championship. Indeed, golf is a game where players can excel much later in their careers.

Tom Morris and Jack Nicklaus were both 46 when they won the last majors of their glittering careers at The Open and the Masters respectively.

Brooks Koepka's fitness was a topic of discussion prior to the US PGA Championship and while he secured a share of the runners-up cheque, the four-time major winner was "super disappointed" with his performance.

Koepka went head-to-head with Phil Mickelson, who came out on top by two strokes in a stunning display that saw the American veteran become the oldest major champion in golf history on Sunday.

A two-time PGA Championship winner, Koepka signed for a two-over-par 74 as he was unable to capitalise on Mickelson's final-round 73 in South Carolina.

Koepka's short game was his downfall – the 31-year-old ended with a double-bogey, four bogeys and four birdies to finish second alongside Louis Oosthuizen at Kiawah Island.

American star Koepka has been plagued by injuries since winning back-to-back PGA Championships in 2019 and a fourth major title in three years, undergoing knee surgery in March before missing the cut at last month's Masters but his title tilt did not mask his frustration.

"Just how bad I putted the last two days," Koepka said when asked what part of the result was hard to stomach. "Three days, actually. It felt like tap-ins I was missing. Never felt comfortable, and you're not going to win if you do that.

"The thing was, Phil played great. That whole stretch when we turned after four and five and played those holes, it's into off the left for me and that's quite difficult for a right-handed player. And it suited Phil right down to the ground, and I thought he played that entire stretch from about six to 13 so well. So you know, I'm happy for him... It's pretty cool to see, and you know, but a bit disappointed in myself."

"I'm super disappointed, pretty bummed," Koepka added. "I'm not happy. I don't know if there's a right word I can say on here without getting fined, but it hurts a little bit. It's one of those things where I just never felt comfortable over the putts. I don't know why, what happened.

"I spent all weekend, the weekend before working on it and it was great, and you know, just over did it. I was trying to get my hands a little lower and ended up getting my hands too far low one under and actually ended up getting further away from the ball. The last nine, I just tried to go back to what I've always done and I felt like I was hitting better putts. I just wish I would have done it sooner."

Oosthuizen – winner of the 2010 Open Championship – carded a one-over-par 73 to earn a share of second spot.

The South African recorded his best major performance since finishing tied for second at the PGA Championship in 2017.

"I feel like I'm playing my heart out to get a second major, and I do know I have the game to do it. This was close," said Oosthuizen.

"My game wasn't great on the weekend. It was better today than yesterday. So I just need to work harder on it to get myself in contention again."

Tiger Woods congratulated "truly inspirational" Phil Mickelson after the American made history at the US PGA Championship on Sunday.

Mickelson defied form and age to capture the PGA Championship in history-making fashion following his two-shot triumph over Louis Oosthuizen and Brooks Koepka.

Not since February 2019 had Mickelson won on the PGA Tour, while the 50-year-old's last major triumph came at the Open Championship in 2013.

But Mickelson became the oldest major champion in golf history in South Carolina, where he secured a sixth major title and 45th Tour trophy.

Watching from the sidelines as he continues to recover from February's single-car crash, 15-time major winner and famous foe Woods used social media to hail Mickelson.

Woods wrote via Twitter: "Truly inspirational to see @PhilMickelson do it again at 50 years of age. Congrats !!!!!!!."

After reigning supreme, Mickelson – who has enjoyed a great rivalry with Woods – said: "This is just an incredible feeling because I just believed that it was possible but yet everything was saying it wasn't.

"I hope that others find that inspiration. It might take a little extra work, a little bit harder effort, but gosh, is it worth it in the end."

Phil Mickelson became the oldest major winner in golf history after claiming the US PGA Championship.

Mickelson made history thanks to the 50-year-old American's two-stroke victory at Kiawah Island on Sunday, eclipsing Julius Boros (48 years and four months at the 1968 PGA Championship).

A final-round 73 saw Mickelson clinch a second PGA Championship title, having also tasted success in 2005, and sixth major crown.

Mickelson's remarkable triumph at six under ended an eight-year major drought after last reigning supreme via the 2013 Open Championship, while he had not won on the PGA Tour since 2019.

Louis Oosthuizen (73) and four-time major champion Brooks Koepka (74) – a two-time PGA Championship winner – finished tied for second in South Carolina.

Mickelson carried a one-shot lead over Koepka into the final round and he had to overcome a slow start in his stunning title pursuit.

It was a tough and chaotic front nine for Mickelson, who bogeyed his opening hole and dropped the third, having responded with a birdie.

Mickelson mixed a pair of birdies with a bogey from the fifth to the seventh hole approaching the turn.

A birdie at the 10th boosted Mickelson, who then holed back-to-back bogeys after his approach shot at the 13th found water.

Mickelson recovered to gain a stroke at the 16th and while he bogeyed the 17th, Koepka and Oosthuizen were unable to take advantage after also ending the deciding round over the card.

Shane Lowry (69), Padraig Harrington (69), Harry Higgs (70) and Paul Casey (71) earned a share of fourth position – four strokes behind Mickelson.

Defending champion Collin Morikawa's bid for back-to-back titles ended in a tie for eighth spot, alongside the likes of Jon Rahm (68), Justin Rose (67), Rickie Fowler (71) and Masters runner-up Will Zalatoris (70), while Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama (72) closed out the event tied for 23rd.

Former world number one Jordan Spieth and his quest to claim a career Grand Slam resulted in a share of 30th at two over, a stroke better off than reigning U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau (77).

As for four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, he ended the tournament in disappointing fashion with a 72 to finish five over.

Phil Mickelson remained on track to become golf's oldest major winner as he held a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of his final round at the US PGA Championship.  

The 50-year-old had ended Saturday's action at Kiawah Island with a one-stroke advantage over Brooks Koepka, who is seeking to win the tournament for a third time in four years.  

Mickelson's slender advantage disappeared with a three-putt bogey at the opening hole, setting the tone for an uneven front nine that saw him record just three pars but still reach seven under.  

The undoubted highlight was a wonderful chip from a tricky greenside bunker by the fifth green that found the cup, delighting a crowd that sensed they could be witnessing history in the making. 

Playing partner Koepka also had his struggles, following up an opening birdie with a double-bogey seven at the second. He sat at five under through nine, the same score as Louis Oosthuizen. 

Abraham Ancer had shown how it was possible to go low on Sunday, carding the best round of the week with a blemish-free 65 that owed much to a fast start.  

The Mexican birdied four of his opening six holes before picking up a further shot prior to the turn, seeing him go out in 31 strokes. While he cooled off on the way back in, it was still an impressive display.  

While his charge came too late to mount a challenge for the tournament, Ancer feels his superb score is a further sign of how he is getting close to making a major breakthrough in his career.  

"I usually like golf courses that are going to be tough, it's not just going to be a birdie-fest and you have to grind it out and have to hit the ball well where you are supposed to," he told Sky Sports.  

"It's not that I don't care about other events, I try to think about every event the same and try to win every time, but I do feel my game is better for golf courses that are tougher." 

Phil Mickelson's dream week at the US PGA Championship continued Saturday, putting him in position to become golf's oldest major championship winner. 

The 50-year-old survived early on the back nine to shoot 70 and hold a one-stroke lead over Brooks Koepka at seven under par for the tournament. 

He knows he does not have many chances left to collect his sixth major title, but he said he's trying to keep his focus on his game rather than thinking about the big-picture implications. 

"I think that because I feel or believe that I'm playing really well and I have an opportunity to contend for a major championship on Sunday and I'm having so much fun that it's easier to stay in the present and not get ahead of myself," Mickelson told reporters. 

Mickelson opened a gap on the field early on moving day with birdies on four of his first seven holes, then another at the 10th. 

"I felt I had a very clear picture on every shot, and I've been swinging the club well, and so I was executing," he said of that stretch. "I just need to keep that picture a few more times."

The picture got a bit fuzzy at 12 and 13, where Mickelson went bogey-double bogey. 

He said his focus slipped on those two holes. 

"It's just an example of losing the feel and the picture of the shot, and I get a little bit jumpy, a little bit fast from the top, and it just -- when that happens I get narrow and I end up flipping it," he said. 

"So those two swings were more a product of not staying or keeping the feel and the focus of the shot. And so that's just a small little thing that I need to iron out."

Mickelson finished the round with five consecutive pars to ensure his place atop the leaderboard heading into Sunday. 

His remarkable week has put him in position to surpass Julius Boros, who won the 1968 PGA at age 48, as the oldest major winner, but Mickelson was in no mood to ponder what he already had accomplished just by getting this far. 

"I'm more focused on a few things that I need to work on tonight before tomorrow's round, and I'm not really dwelling back on what took place today," he said. 

"I just know I'm having a lot of fun and I'm very appreciative of the way the people have been supportive."

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