Stenson, Mickelson set for Royal Troon showdown
Saturday’s third round of golf’s oldest Major turned into a classic match-play scenario and with just a shot separating the pair and with a round the play, it will be much the same on Sunday.
The Swede shot a round of 68 to move to 12-under par while Mickelson posted a 70 to be at 11-under par, and with daylight third.
Stenson, Mickelson set for Royal Troon showdown (Credit: European Tour)
Mickelson teed-up on day three a shot clear of Stenson but Stenson quickly went ahead when he birdied three of the opening four holes but only to bogey the sixth and eighth holes.
Stenson has not won ten European Tour titles for nothing, however, and two birdies in his final five holes saw him open up a slim advantage at 12 under.
The Swede already has a Race to Dubai, a FedEx Cup and Ryder Cup victories on his CV but a win on Sunday would be a crowning glory for a player who admits he may be running out of chances at golf’s four biggest events.
He finished second to Mickelson at The Open at Muirfield three years ago as the 46 year old claimed his most recent European Tour victory, and will be looking to turn the tables on Scotland’s opposite coast.
American Bill Haas sat six shots behind the leader with England’s Andrew Johnston a further shot back.
Stenson got off to the perfect start as he put his approach to the first to 15 feet and rolled in a birdie to join Mickelson at ten under.
It looked like advantage Mickelson as Stenson found a bunker off the tee on the third but his drive had got him to the side of the green and an exquisite sand shot set up a birdie which the American matched.
The 40 year old then hit the front as he two-putted from 20 feet for a birdie on the par five fourth but he got in trouble off the tee on the sixth and then could not get up and down from the front bunker at the Postage Stamp.
Stenson made a big putt for par on the tenth but Mickelson’s par save on the 12th was even better after finding serious trouble off the tee and when he holed from 25 feet on the next, the lead was two shots.
The five-time Major winner’s progress was looking serene but Stenson put his approach on the par three 14th to four feet for birdie and a missed putt from Mickelson from even closer range led to a two-shot swing.
Mickelson edged ahead again on the 16th but when he failed to get up and down on the penultimate hole with Stenson holing from 20 feet, it was the World Number Six who led again.
Stenson’s 54-hole total of 201 beats the record for an Open at Troon, previously set by countryman Jesper Parnevik in 1997.
Phil Mickelson WITB – The Open Championship
- XR 16 Sub Zero Driver (8.5*) – Fubuki J 60x Shaft
- XR 16 Pro Fairway Wood (14*) – Fubuki K 70 Prototype Shaft
- Callaway X Forged ’13 (2-iron) – KBS Tour V 125 Shaft
- Callaway X Forged ’13 Irons (4-PW) – KBS Tour V 125 Shafts
- Mack Daddy PM Grind Wedges (54, 60, 64*) – KBS Tour V 125 Shafts
- Odyssey Versa #9 Putter (White/Black/White)
- Chrome Soft Golf Ball