Stenson, Mickelson bring their fireworks show to PGA

Tue Jul 26, 2016 6:00pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

SPRINGFIELD, New Jersey (Reuters) - Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson forged an epic duel in the final round of the British Open and they ride into the season's final major, the PGA Championship at Baltusrol, on a wave of momentum and inextricably linked in golf lore.

That may seem odd in a sport where there is a winner and a loser, but the masterly battle between winner Stenson, who fired a record-tying 63, and runner-up Mickelson, who shot 65 to finish 11 shots ahead of third place at Royal Troon, set a standard for major golf finishes.

"I'm just delighted I managed to win it in the end," said Stenson, 40, who set a British Open record with a 20-under total in winning his first major championship.

"When you hear the words that Jack (Nicklaus) and Tom (Watson) and a lot of the best players that have ever played the game are giving us credit for how we played, that's obviously very pleasing and very humbling."

Mickelson, who won the 2013 British Open at Muirfield, finished on 17-under, a total that would have won 141 of the 145 British Opens played. He said the finish was deflating but at the same time he found strength in how well he played.

"I think it's the first time in my career that I have played to that level of golf and not had it be enough to win a tournament," the five-times major winner told reporters on Tuesday.

"That's a disappointing thing because I would have loved to have added another Claret Jug.

"I don't look back on the final round with anything that I would have done different, other than maybe go over to Stenson's bag and bend his putter a little bit. That's probably the only thing I could have done and had a chance."   Continued...

Jul 17, 2016; Ayrshire, SCT; Henrik Stenson (SWE) , left, and Phil Mickelson (USA) during the final round of the 145th Open Championship golf tournament at Royal Troon Golf Club - Old Course. Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports