Henrik Stenson outduels Mickelson, shatters British Open record in dramatic win

Phil Mickelson may be disappointed that he wasn't able to win The Open Championship, but he is still happy with his game.

For Mickelson, it seems like no player has endured as much major heartbreak as Lefty. So he sent me a message: 'Go out and finish what I didn't manage to finish, ' and I'm really proud to have done that, and it's going to be massive for golf in Sweden with this win. "I'm sorry that it came at my expense".

Stenson's total score of 20-under on 264 shots is not only an Open scoring record, but it's the lowest 72-hole total score ever shot in major championship history.

"I want to thank my wife, my family, my team, all the hard work has helped to make this possible and my caddie Gareth Lord".

For Mickelson, there was no second-guessing the way he played.

Stenson matched Mickelson blow-by-blow, carding 10 birdies of his own in a round that will go down as one of the greatest of all time.

Mickelson knew there wasn't much more he could do.

In a way, maybe even a little more. I didn't do a good enough job.

At 46, Mickelson knows his window of opportunity is beginning to close.

The 46-year-old American, bidding to become the oldest victor of the Open in the modern era, levelled again at the 11th when his title rival three-putted for the second time.

The 22-year-old Texan had gone 10 straight rounds in major championships without breaking par.

"A 65 in the final round of a major is usually good enough to win", Mickelson said.

The Swede won his first major in his 42nd attempt, becoming only the ninth player to capture his first major after turning 40.

Maybe he really was in shock, but if so, it didn't hit him until after he played a almost ideal round of golf to top off a stunning week - 68-65-68-63 - on a course that beat up numerous world's great players.

But then Stenson landed a significant blow when he drained a long one across the green on the 14th and he dropped another bomb out of nowhere on 15 to rock his rival. Many times, in fact.

Including his final round, Stenson shot -6 (!) on the 14th-18th holes during the week at Royal Troon. He has also been third twice in the U.S. PGA and fourth in the U.S. Open and PGA. Only Jack Nicklaus, with 19, has more second-place results.

Mickelson is one shot back.

The pair stomped the rest of the field, with J.B. Holmes finishing third at 278, a whopping 14 shots behind Stenson.

"I really thought that was going to go in".

But this was even better. Neither player could push the margin any higher than that until they got to the 15th, the Swede again up by a shot after rolling in an 18-foot birdie the previous hole. Stenson's second shot rolled off the right side of the green, leaving him with a 50-foot putt up the ridge.

Just before walking to the first tee, Mickelson and Stenson met on the practice green next to the Royal Troon clubhouse.

"We both played some great golf", Stenson said.

Maybe Hollywood needed the footage for whenever they decide to make Phil The Thrill, starring Chris Hemsworth and directed by Quentin Tarantino.

"He's one of the best to play the game in the last 15, 20 years for sure, and it's going to be a tough match", said Stenson of his opponent. He won the PGA Championship there in 2005.

Like a bar-room brawler, Mickelson was still swinging and missed an eagle chance by millimeters on the 16th to stay two behind.

"We're only getting started, aren't we?" he said, a newfound confidence in his voice. "You never know once you open the floodgates what might happen".

Accepting the claret jug, Stenson dedicated his first major win to a friend of his who died of cancer on Wednesday.

Swedish golfer Henrik Stenson could not be stopped in the final round of The Open Championship at the Royal Troons in Scotland.

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