Royal Troon GC July 14th - July 17th

by Steven Clarke July 23, 2016, 8:16

He settled for a birdie to remain two strokes behind Stenson.

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In the end, on this day, Henrik Stenson was just a little bit grittier than Phil Mickelson.

In the final round, they combined to make 14 birdies and an eagle. The lead changed four times over four hours of golf at its highest level, played in the cold wind and occasional rain off the Irish Sea.

Southgate was about to complete a final round of 2-under 69 to secure a place in the top 15 of the British Open, a year to the week that he underwent surgery after being diagnosed with testicular cancer. So it should be an exciting afternoon.

"One of the things that I've really worked on over the years is getting a ball onto the ground off the tee quickly, so the ground is affecting it more so than the air".

Links golf can deliver some odd finishes, though this had all the trappings of a two-man race on Sunday.

Henrik Stenson's win at Royal Troon to etch his name on the claret jug also comes with many more mentions of his name in the history books.

Mickelson, winless since he lifted golf's oldest trophy at Muirfield three years ago, had a 70.

He was at 10-under 132, one better than the 36-hole score of Darren Clarke in 1997 and Bobby Clampett in 1982 at Royal Troon.

Colin Montgomerie, who played the first tee shot of the championship on Thursday and is competing in his home town, was handed the first tee time on Sunday at 7.40am.

"There's been many great players from my country tried in past years and decades and there's been a couple of really close calls", he said. "Some days it's hard and it looks bad, like it did today. But either way, I shot three rounds under par".

The birdies continued to flow for both men over the remainder of the front nine, Stenson hitting the turn with a one-stroke advantage after he made birdie at the Postage Stamp and saw Mickelson miss a shorter putt for a two.

First up overnight Stenson, looking for his first major in his 42nd appearance, started with a three birdie blitz in the first four holes to Mickelson's sole birdie to take the lead at 12-under for the tournament.

However, Mickelson - leader over the first two days - typically hung in there and was happy to slug it out.

Everyone else felt like mere spectators. Johnson finished with a 72 for a 1-under total, 11 shots back and in a tie for 13th. He then went one ahead of his left-handed rival after picking up another shot at the fourth. He made it look easy, especially with an approach from a flawless angle to 3 feet on No. 7, and a wedge that spun back toward the hole on the par-3 eighth and stopped the size of a few real postage stamps from going in for an ace. He was one of only 13 players to break par on a day of intermittent showers and gusts of up to 30 miles per hour off the Irish Sea.

It was unlikely to matter.

Mickelson then fluffed his lines with bogeys on the back nine's only two par threes but generally he was like a lion chasing a zebra - wrestling it out until it gives in.

Right on his heels, nearly to the very end, was Mickelson.

"Today could have been a day that got away from me, instead I shot under par and kept myself right in heading into tomorrow's final round, so I'm proud of that".

Stenson joined Johnny Miller as the only player to shoot a 63 in the final round of a major. He hasn't won another tournament since, and at age 46, it appeared time was running out. The 1861 Open was played in September. Jutanugarn had chances on the first two playoff holes, missing birdie putts of 14 and 8 feet. He even caught a break with the weather, his black rain suit coming in handy only over his final 10 holes Friday. "You can't guarantee it by any means and I had to play some great golf to get there". "As we know it's going to take some good golfing to do that, but I'm certainly willing to give it a try", Stenson said.

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