Henrik Stenson joined Johnny Miller as the only men in pro golf history to card a 63 in the final round of a Major, doing so Sunday at Royal Troon in Scotland to win The Open Championship, tying a Major record by finishing 20-under par.
He needed every ounce of that record-setting performance to hold off five-time Major champion Phil Mickelson, who shot a 65 and finished 17-under, his 11th time as a runner-up at one of the big four tournaments.
Judging by the first hole, it was going to be Mickelson’s day as he birdied No. 1 while Stenson bogeyed it to flip-flop the two competitors so that Mickelson enjoyed a 1-stroke lead. Two birdies later, Stenson had the lead back, only to seen Mickelson tie it again with an eagle on No. 4.
Both men carded a 4-under 32 on the front nine, but Mickelson tied things up again when Stenson bogeyed No. 11. Down the stretch, the Swede put on a command performance under pressure, birdying 14, 15, 16, and 18 to finish 8-under for the day and 20-under for the tournament, tying the record for most strokes under par in a Major set by Jason Day last August at the PGA Championship.
“I felt like this was going to be my turn,” Stenson said afterwards. “It’s not something you want to run around and shout, but I felt like this was going to be my turn. 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.”
The final leaderboard looked like two varsity players competing alongside the JV. J.B. Holmes finished third at 6-under 14 strokes behind Stenson. Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia were both 4-under to tie for fifth and Dustin Johnson was one of three men at 2-under in a tie for ninth.