Open champion Henrik Stenson climbs one place to fifth in world rankings

Coming into the day, the prospect of a two-way shoot-out for the Claret Jug evoked memories of the legendary "Duel in the Sun" down the Ayrshire coast at Turnberry in 1977, when Tom Watson edged out Jack Nicklaus after the two Americans had separated themselves from their rivals.

Yesterday, the Swede shot a final round 63 to win his first Major while Mickelson shot a 65 in the same group.

Entering Sunday's final round, the world No. 6 Stenson held a one shot lead over Mickelson, who was five shots ahead of the nearest pursuer.

His Major championship record-equalling low round of 63 on Sunday, featuring 10 birdies, saw him beat American Phil Mickelson by three strokes with an overall score of 20 under par, the lowest total at The Open.

"It's probably the best I've played and not won", said the 46-year-old, who would have been the fourth oldest major champion in history.

"Phil certainly has nothing to be ashamed of because he played wonderfully", he said. "Henrik played for him this week so I am glad he did it".

The Golden Bear won the Open at Turnberry in 1977 after an epic contest with Tom Watson. We managed to pull away from the rest of the field and we both played some great golf.

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'I played a bogey-free round of 65 on the final round of a major, usually that's good enough to do it, and I got beat'.

"To win your first major championship is something special but to do it in the fashion Henrik did it in makes for something very special and incredibly memorable". "I knew I was going to have to battle back if it wasn't, but I think that was the extra self-belief that made me go all the way this week".

"I'm really proud to have done that, and it's going to be massive for golf in Sweden with this win", Stenson said.

Tony Jacklin won two majors and is Europe's most decorated Ryder Cup captain but he says he has never seen anything like the battle royal between Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson at the 145th British Open.

His 20-under-par total of 264 was a record low at the Open at Royal Troon thumping past Justin Leonard's 12-under-par win in 1997.

Caddy Gareth Lord's partnership with Henrik Stenson has brought him a million-dollar pay-day, a supercar and an apartment in Monaco. Even when Stenson took a two-shot lead by rolling in a 50-foot birdie putt across the 15th green, Mickelson answered with a 3-wood up the narrow front in the green to 30 feet.

After all the controversy about players" reluctance to play in the Olympics in the build-up to the Open, and whether they should have a responsibility to help grow the game, a man known as "Beef' gave the sport a shot in the arm.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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