Stenson v Mickelson: What the stats revealed
With the help of statistics it is possible to see why only one stroke separated Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson at the top of the leaderboard after three rounds of The 145th Open at Royal Troon.
Sweden’s Stenson led the way on 12 under par, which was six strokes ahead of Bill Haas, in third place, and seven ahead of Andrew Johnston, in fourth.
Interestingly, although Stenson and Mickelson reached their respective total in different ways - Stenson had rounds of 68, 65 and 68 for his score of 201 and Mickelson had rounds of 63, 69 and 70 for a 202 – the measurements relating to their individual performances were almost identical. It is why the final round shoot-out was so hard to call.
In terms of fairways hit Stenson found 30 out of 42 over the first three days, which was 71.4%. Mickelson found one fewer. It was the same for greens in regulation, with the Swede finding 40 out of 54, while his American rival found 39, an excellent return of 72.2%.
Mickelson had the tiniest of edges in the putting, sinking 82 to Stenson’s 83, although both players had only one three-putt in 54 holes. In terms of driving distances, Stenson averaged 294.5 yards, to Mickelson’s 277.8, but the latter had fewer bogeys – four over the three rounds, compared to Stenson’s five.On the front nine, however, Mickelson took the bragging rights. He did not drop a shot on the outward half and picked up eight birdies in total. Stenson had bogeys at three of the holes on the front nine, but also landed seven birdies and an eagle, at the par five 6th.