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Added July 19th, 2016 by Ian

Henrik Stenson wins 2016 British Open in record fashion

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson won the 145th British Open at Royal Troon in Ayrshire, Scotland in record fashion on Sunday, July 17th. It was Stenson’s first major victory and the first ever for a Swedish male golfer. The 40-year-old finished the 72-hole, four-round event at 20 under par, which tied Jason Day lowest under-par score ever in a major tournament. Day set the mark at last year’s PGA Championship. However, Stenson didn’t really have much choice since American Phil Mickelson was right on his tail as he finished in the runner up position for the 11th time in a major. It was Stenson who hung on to take home the claret jug though with his final shot being an excellent 20-foot birdie shot at the 18th hole.

Stenson had 10 birdies during the final round to finish the day with an eight-under par 63. The 63 matched Johnny Miller as the lowest final-round score in a major. His four-round total of 264 sets a new record for the lowest ever at a 72-hole major. The Swedish golfer finished the event with a three-stroke edge over Mickelson, who had led at Royal Troon after the first and second rounds. Mickelson had a bogey-free final round score of 65 and finished the Open with a 17 under par 267. With that score, the hard-luck Mickelson would have won every Open Championship for over a century other than two of them. The American admitted it was the best he’s ever played without winning.

The 2016 Open was somewhat similar to the 1977 event in Turnberry when Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson battled it out until the 18th hole while nobody else was within 10 shots of the pair. Stenson and Mickelson were within two shots of each other for 40 consecutive holes until Stenson’s birdie on his final shot of the tournament. The 46-year-old Mickelson led just once on the final day, which was on the opening hole. They were all even with five holes to go, but then Stenson pulled ahead with a birdie on the 14th. Mickelson was hoping to become the fourth-oldest winner of a major, but missed an eagle putt by a fraction of an inch on the 16th hole.

The last time Mickelson won a British Open was three years ago at Muirfield with Stenson coming in as the runner-up. Mickelson got off to a great start in the tournament when he hit an eight-under par 63 in the first round. Third place went to American J.B. Holmes as he finished 14 shots back of Stenson at six-under. After the game Holmes told the media, “Those guys (Stenson and Mickelson) were playing a different golf course than everyone else.” Stenson’s first major triumph comes in his 42nd try and he’s now just the ninth male golfer to win his first major while in his forties. He’s also the only golfer to win the British Open by finishing all four rounds with scores in the 60s. The others to accomplish the feat were Greg Norman, Nick Price and Tiger Woods. In addition, he’s the first non-American to win the title at Royal Troon since 1950.

Stenson said he plans on competing at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil even though the four top-ranked golfers have pulled out. However, England’s Danny Willett, who won this year’s Masters will join him. There’s another Major on tap before the Olympics begin though as the PGA Championship tees off on July 28th. Steve Stricker of the U.S. finished in fourth place at this year’s Open at five under while Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Sergio Garcia of Spain tied for fifth place at four under par.

 
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