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The final leaderboard for the 2016 Open Championship (British Open) at Royal Troon Golf Club in Ayrshire, Scotland is in. After a back-and-forth duel over the third round and most of the final round, Henrik Stenson was able to pull away from runner-up Phil Mickelson and win by three shots. Stenson’s 20-under total score in relation to par ties the lowest in any major championship, and his absolute score of 264 sets a record for the lowest. Below is the truncated top-10 leaderboard:
(1) Henrik Stenson (-20)
(2) Phil Mickelson (-17)
(3) J.B. Holmes (-6)
(4) Steve Stricker (-5)
(T5) Rory McIlroy (-4)
(T5) Tyrrell Hatton (-4)
(T5) Sergio Garcia (-4)
(8) Andrew Johnston (-3)
(T9) Dustin Johnson (-2)
(T9) Soren Kjeldsen (-2)
(T9) Bill Haas (-2)
Here are some statistics on the champion and other notables near the top of the leaderboard:
Winner: Henrik Stenson (-20) – There wasn’t a more deserving winner than Stenson. He just played terrific all week: hardly any mistakes, light-out putting, amazingly solid ball-striking and a little bit of luck. It really was his time to get his first major. If I’m being completely honest, I was pulling for Mickelson, but I’m still very happy at the outcome. Not only is this Stenson’s first major title, but the first ever won by any Swede golfer. Surprisingly this is only his fifth Tour win, although he does have 10 wins on the European Tour excluding this week.
Prior to his start at this Open, Stenson missed three straight cuts on the PGA Tour including at the U.S. Open and PLAYERS Championship. His best finish this season aside from this week was a solo second at the Shell Houston Open. His last pro win was at the BMW International Open last June. Previous finishes at The Open for Stenson include a T40 last year in 2015, T39 in 2014, solo second in 2013 (behind Mickelson) and 68th in 2011; he has two T3 results in 2010 and 2008.
Final round: 10 birdies (tied for the most in any Open round) and 2 bogeys for a record-tying 63. Stenson was neck-and-neck with Mickelson for the majority of the final round but distanced himself after a trio of birdies on holes 14-16. Some of his highlights include a 50-foot bomb on 15 and a curl-in birdie on the last to end his round with a bang. Scores in regulation: 68, 65, 68, 63 (264).
Proudest moment of my career, huge thanks to everyone for your support. A dream come true! H pic.twitter.com/jyVNh2Wmf2
— Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) July 18, 2016
Phil Mickelson (-17) – Even though the end result is disappointing for Mickelson, what I think makes it sting at least a little bit less for him is the fact that not only does he already have an Open title and multiple majors, but he played a fantastic round and just got beat soundly by someone who was playing a little bit better than him. It wasn’t close at the end and I think Mickelson had time to come to terms with the reality that he probably was going to come up short. It certainly could have been much more devastating for him if the situation was different.
This would have been Mickelson’s sixth major win, second Open win (following Muirfield 2013) and 43rd PGA Tour win. His performance this week comes off the heels of a final-round 66 at last week’s Scottish Open; evidently he was able to carry his blossoming game over to Royal Troon. Some notable finishes for Mickelson in the 2015-2016 season aside from this week include a T2 at the St. Jude Classic, T4 at the Wells Fargo, solo fifth at the WGC-Cadillac and solo second at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He missed the cut at this year’s U.S. Open and finished T27 two weeks ago at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Previous notable Open finishes for Mickelson include a win in 2013, T2 in 2011 and solo third in 2004.
Final round: 4 birdies, an eagle and no bogeys for a 6-under 65. A missed eagle on 16, a couple of missed putts inside 10 feet and a playing partner that refused to let up effectively sealed his fate. Scores in regulation: 63, 69, 70, 65 (267).
That was not only a great Open tournament beginning last Thursday but that final round, essentially a match play style duel between Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson was epic. Jack Nicklaus himself stated that the final round shootout between Stenson and Mickelson on Sunday was better than his 1977 “Duel in the Sun” between he and Tom Watson. I don’t remember that final round as in fact I was working up at a summer camp in Maine that year, but if Nicklaus himself said that yesterday’s round was better than I can only take his word.
Mickelson had nothing to be ashamed of as he shot the lowest he has ever scored over the course of 4 rounds in a major. Still it was not good enough as Stenson set a major record for the lowest cumulative score over 4 rounds in history. And his final round 63 tied Johnny Miller’s record from the 73 Open, (I don’t remember that either).
I think Stenson’s monster 51 foot putt on the 15th hole sealed it as Mickelson probably thought that Henrik would only get score a par for that hole.
Great tournament and it’s a shame that the Open will not be returning to Troon for another 12 years – next to be held in 2028. I wonder why their reasoning. They hold it every 5 years at St. Andrews and realistically some of those other courses in the British rotation probably need to be eliminated.
What do you think?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jeff. There are definitely parallels to be drawn between the Stenson/Mickelson duel and the “Duel in the Sun” (which I didn’t watch at the time because, well, I wasn’t even born yet), namely the huge separation between the second and third place scores.
I’m not sure what their reasoning is behind keeping Troon, which is a great course, off the Open rota for so many years, but it doesn’t really matter too much to me personally; I just like to see the best players in the world compete on world-class golf courses. What Open courses specifically do you think should be taken off the rotation?
From what I understand in complaints twice back in 2006 and 2014 when the Open was held at this particular site, the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake England out to be ditched. When Tiger won in 2006, people including experts on golf thought that the course looked and played absolutely dreadful.
One of my bucket things to do eventually as I’m nearing 60 years old, (in 2017) is to actually attend an Open tournament one year and especially when it is held at St. Andrews. I’ve twice been to the U.S. Open in 1995 and again in 2004 when the tournament was held both years out on Long Island at Shinnicock Hills.
On a two-week bus tour through England, Scotland and Wales we actually visited St. Andrews, and the small town. While many people on the tour, including my mom went into the town for our 1 – 2 hour stop, I on the other hand headed directly towards the course. We even were allowed to walk the course just as long as we did not interfere with play. I remember getting close to that famous 17th hole Road bunker near the green. That is one very large and steep bunker, well over 5 feet deep at points. No wonder that in past Opens, players having their ball land in this bunker have paid a stiff price trying, sometimes unsuccessfully on the 1st, 2nd, and even 3rd attempt to get it out of there.
They play at St. Andrews every 5 years with the 2020 and 2025 Opens set to take place in the rotation at the “home of golf”.
I never knew what the dominant sentiment was about the course conditions at Hoylake in 2006, but I do know that it got really baked out. As for your trip to St. Andrews, it must have been quite the experience. I’ve never been to St. Andrews but I hope to one day — the sooner the better.
Paul you have a very informative website going. I like the idea of being able to view your page, learn about current events in golf, and not be bombarded with sales. I truly appreciated the section about Phil Mickelson. He is a great player, but a disappointing finish. You’re right in that it probably didn’t hurt as much as it would have if he hadn’t won an Open before — he has said that his career goal at this point is to get the career Grand Slam, and all he needs to do is take a U.S. Open.
Thanks Calvin. Yes, the U.S. Open is where he needs to play his best, but of course nobody would consciously let themselves be sloppy or careless when they’re in position to win any major. To play so well all week and to shoot a 65 on Sunday without winning is pretty tough. Regardless, I’m looking forward to seeing how he’ll do at Baltusrol.
This was one of the best Opens I’ve watched in a long time. It’s pretty amazing how much Stenson and Mickelson were able to separate themselves from the rest of the field. But it’s not just Mickelson/Stenson. Look at Steve Stricker for example, going on 50 years old and still posting high finishes in big tournaments. It seems like his limited schedule works out really well for him.
Good observation; I’m also impressed with how well Stricker has been performing as of late. This is his best finish at an Open in 14 appearances, and his best finish in a major period since the 1998 PGA. I think he’s one of the few pros that is capable of winning on the PGA Tour at his age and beyond.