Stenson creates golfing history with Open victory
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson created Swedish golfing history in ending a 42-Majors winning drought to capture the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon.
In a contest to mirror the famed ‘Duel in the Sun’ at Turnberry in 1977 Stenson went 36-holes with American Phil Mickelson to finally become a Major Champion with an equally historic 20-under par winning tally.
“This will take a while to sink in, I am still getting my bearings,” said Stenson at the presentation ceremony.
“It seems like it was not going to be anyone else but the two of us. I am delighted to come out on top. Thank you very much for a great fight.
The Swede came into round four with a one-shot advantage over his American rival but the duo were tied at the top of the leader board with five holes to play as they went blow-for-blow in an enthralling contest.
Henrik Stenson (Credit: Callaway Golf)
A birdie on the par three 14th moved Stenson ahead and when he drained a remarkable 50-foot effort on the next, the pair were separated by two shots for the first time all day.
A brilliant up-and-down followed to maintain the gap and Stenson birdied the last to finish at 20 under with a 63 and beat Mickelson by three shots.
Stenson had finished second behind Mickelson at Muirfield in 2013 but the circumstances were very different here as the pair played together in the final group on Saturday and Sunday to produce a duel of the highest quality and drama.
As well as becoming Sweden’s first Major champion, Stenson broke a host of records with the lowest total to par in Open history and the lowest ever final round by a winner.
His 63 – a total matched by Mickelson on Thursday – equalled the lowest round in Major history and his 264 aggregate score is the lowest ever in a Major Championship.
He also moved level with Robert Karlsson on 11 European Tour wins, the most ever by a Swede, and adds Major glory to his 2013 Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup titles.
Henrik Stenson WITB – The Open Championship
- Callaway XR 16 Driver (9º) – Oban Tour Kiyoshi 60x Shaft
- Callaway Diablo Octane Tour Fairway Wood (13*) – Grafalloy Blue X Shaft
- Callaway Legacy Black Irons (2-PW) – Nippon Modus 120X Shafts
- Callaway MD3 Milled Wedges (52º, 58º) – Nippon Modus 120X Shafts
- Titleist Pro V1
- Odyssey White Hot XG #7H Putter
Jason Day headed the Aussie field at the close of play with a final round even-par 71 leaving him in equal 22nd. A frustrated Day alluded to the difficult conditions he battled all week in his post-round comments.
“I think I’m just used to the 12, 13, 14 on the Stimp and then we get here and it’s 9. Obviously, understandable because of the conditions and the elements that you have to battle out here, how windy it is, you have to keep them at a certain speed or else they’ll blow off and it won’t be fair for anyone.”
“So I tried to get in early, tried to get used to the greens. It just feels like I’m hitting it with a sledgehammer and it’s going nowhere.”
“It depends on what wave (teetimes) you were on, but that’s one thing that I’ve learned over the years is that the weather can have a big impact obviously how you play that week. Me, I said it yesterday, me, myself, Rory and Jordan were kind of on the bad side.”
“So it’s just if you call it unlucky, it may be unlucky, but you’ve got to embrace it and try to play good.”
“I’ve got Canada next week. I’m pumped to get back to some 90° weather. Don’t have to wear three or four layers on every day. The greens are going to be very quick, so once I get in tonight, I’ll have a good rest and get into that,” said Day.
Australian Open champion Matt Jones was next best at T39 and 4-over with Adam Scott another shot back at T43.
“I’m very encouraged by the way I hit the ball today. I finally felt I had things under control. I rolled a couple putts the last couple days a little better as well. So I go to the PGA encouraged with how I played. Feeling close every day. Three fair rounds this week and one ordinary one kind of made for an average tournament,” said Scott.
Marc Leishman (T53), Scott Hend (T72) and Greg Chalmers (81) rounded out the Down Under field.