Henrik Stenson wins duel with Mickelson on enthralling final day of The Open

The Swede claimed his first major in a tense final round battle.

HENRIK STENSON WON a tight, tense and thrilling duel with Phil Mickelson over the final round of the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon today to earn his first major win.

The Swede held his nerve in decorated company and was relentless in an absorbing contest that left him with a -20, three-stroke lead over the American before claiming the Claret Jug.

The overnight front-runners, Mickelson and Stenson showed little sign of nerves as they locked horns in a battle of wills and clutch putting that gave them the unbelievable finishing tallies of 65 for second place and a stunning 63 to win.

British Open Golf Source: Peter Morrison

Mickelson was the first to get an upper hand, powering within a foot of the first hole to claim a birdie and, with Stenson bogeying, the lead.

The Swede was not about to be cowed with his first major within sight though and he showed remarkable steel to roll in birdies on five of the following seven holes to restore his advantage.

Mickelson however, doesn’t let go of Championship races easily. The five-time major champion steered clear of bogeys and kept an immense amount of pressure on Stenson with an eagle on the fourth and birdies on six, 10 and 16.

The Open Championship 2016 - Day Four - Royal Troon Golf Club Source: David Davies

The duel ebbed and flowed with the rivals for the Claret Jug going stride for stride, but Stenson’s clinical striking off the tee was only bettered by his eye for brilliant putting lines. None better than a monster 50-foot effort from the fringe of the 15th green, it slowed on the rim of the hole, but the drop looked inevitable from the moment it left the putter and it left Stenson with room to breath as he took a two-shot lead with three to play.

Mickelson was unlucky with an excellent long putt for eagle on the next hole, but when the Swede recovered to match his birdie, the odds were firmly in his favour.

Gavin Cooney
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Stenson drove within feet of the 17th pin while Mickelson hit the rough. A two-putt left Mickelson some hope before the final tee, but the ‘Ice Man’ stayed cool enough to drain a brilliant final putt to end his victory in fitting fashion.

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Sean Farrell

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