Henrik Stenson of Sweden out-dueled Phil Mickelson down the stretch in a remarkable and memorable two-man show in the final round to win the British Open at Royal Troon on Sunday.
The two virtually matched quality shot for quality shot until Stenson pulled ahead with birdies at 14 and 15, on putts of 18 and 51 feet, and for good measure an 18th-hole birdie to win by three. It was Stenson’s first major championship, at age 40.
Stenson, who began the final round with a one-stroke lead, shot an eight-under par 63, equaling the best round of the week, Mickelson’s opening round of 63.
Mickelson, meanwhile, posted a six-under par 65 that on any ordinary Sunday would have been sufficient to close out a major championship victory.
But there was nothing ordinary about this round. Each went out in four-under par 32s — Stenson with five birdies and a bogey, Mickelson with two birdies and an eagle.
Mickelson, 46, in pursuit of his sixth major championship win and first victory of any sort since his Open victory at Muirfield in 2013, pulled even with a par save at the difficult 11th hole, while Stenson three-putted for bogey.
They remained tied for the lead until Stenson’s birdie putts midway through the back nine. Each birdied the par-5 16th and parred the 17th, while Stenson closed with a birdie at 18 .
Stenson and Mickelson finished at 20-under par 264 and 17-under par 167, respectively, 14 and 11 strokes clear of third-place finisher J.B. Holmes.