Stenson eclipsed Phil Mickelson by three shots in an epic battle down the stretch that evoked memories of Tom Watson’s famous “Duel in the Sun” victory over Jack Nicklaus at Turnberry 39 years ago.
The cool Swede closed with an incredible 10 birdies in a record-equalling eight-under-par-63 to finish with a historic 72-hole total of 20-under 264 to become the first Scandinavian man ever to win a major championship.
The stunning aggregate — after previous rounds of 68-65-68 — beat Tiger Woods’ all-time low scoring record from his runaway victory at St Andrews in 2000.
Stenson’s success was also sweet revenge after Mickelson overturned a one-shot deficit to deny him the Claret Jug at Muirfield in 2013.
“Wow, this will take a little while to sink in,” Stenson said after kissing the Claret Jug and dedicating his victory to a “dear friend” he’d lost last week to cancer.
“Thank you Phil for a fantastic battle”. “You played some great golf”.
“I’m obviously delighted to come out on top this time, but thank you very much for a great fight.”
Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson captivated golf fans across the globe at Royal Troon on Sunday, as they went head-to-head in pursuit of the Claret Jug.
While the rest of the field floundered in tricky conditions, the lead pair thrived, each driven on by the other and their determination to end the day victorious. The pendulum swung back and forth during a tense final round but the incredibly high standard remained.
The contest drew comparisons to the 1977 ‘Duel in the Sun’ between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson at Turnberry with Nicklaus himself arguing the Stenson-Mickelson showdown even surpassed that famous clash.
Official World Rankings 18/07/16
1. Jason Day 13.24
2. Dustin Johnson 11.29
3. Jordan Spieth 10.86
4. Rory McIlroy 9.39
5. Henrik Stenson 8.88
6. Bubba Watson 7.10
7. Rickie Fowler 6.56
8. Adam Scott 6.40
9. Danny Willett 6.23
10. Sergio Garcia 5.58
Henrik Stenson – What’s In The Bag?
Driver: Callaway XR 16 (Oban Tour Kiyoshi 60X shaft), 9 Degrees
3-Wood: Callaway Diablo Octane Tour (Grafalloy Blue X shaft), 13 Degrees
Irons: Callaway Legacy Black (2-PW; Nippon Pro Modus3 120X shafts)
Wedges: Callaway MD3 Milled (52, 58 degrees; Nippon Pro Modus3 120X shafts).
Putter: Odyssey White Hot XG #7H
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Rob Brooks @golfnation_