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The 152nd Open

A battle for the ages


How Stenson vs Mickelson unfolded

Mickelson and Stenson 2016

The battle between Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson in the final round of The 145th Open is one of the greatest head-to-heads in major championship history.

Countless twists and turns kept the sporting world captivated on a Sunday of high drama at Royal Troon.

Ahead of The Open’s return to the same course, let’s take a look back at how that final day unfolded, hole by hole…

You can also watch every shot from the famous duel on R&A TV.

Henrik Stenson Claret Jug 2016

Hole 1: Stenson stumbles as Mickelson moves ahead

The final day began with the Swede a shot ahead but the lead changed hands instantly as the opening hole set the tone for a rollercoaster day. Stenson paid for a wayward approach and three-putted for a bogey.

Mickelson, by contrast, nailed his approach to within a couple of feet and tapped in for birdie to take a one-shot lead of his own.

Hole 2: Instant response levels it up

Stenson, perhaps refocused by his early hiccup, responded in style by draining a nerveless birdie putt on the second green.

Mickelson came within a whisker of a three of his own but a chip from off the green lipped out and he had to settle for par. The pair were all square.

Hole 3: Henrik hits the front

Mickelson missed the fairway off the tee but a brilliant second shot set up a birdie opportunity.

Stenson sunk his own birdie putt to put the pressure on and Mickelson was unable to respond, missing the presentable chance to fall a shot back.

Hole 4: Eagle lands for Lefty

Both players took advantage at the first par-5 of the day. Stenson recorded a third consecutive birdie but left the green with only a share of the lead after a superb eagle from Mickelson left both players on 14-under-par.

That left the pair seven shots clear of anyone else on the course. This was already a two-horse race.

Hole 5: Level pegging

The pair took contrasting approaches to long-range birdie putts at the par-3 5th.

Mickelson judged the undulations perfectly but did not put enough weight on his effort, which stopped just short, while Stenson’s rolled past the cup having been hit with pace. Pars for both left it level.

Hole 6: Birdies for both

By this stage, commentators were comparing the battle to heavyweight boxers trading blows and that theme continued on the par-5 6th.

Mickelson’s putter remained on fire and his birdie put the ball in Stenson’s court. But the backspin on the Swede’s third shot set up a routine chance of his own and he completed the job to stay in a share of the lead.

Hole 7: Stroke of fortune

The first wayward drive of the day was Mickelson’s but the American got away with his sliced drive, which hit a spectator and landed just off the fairway.

Stenson opted for a safer iron off the tee and went straight down the middle, with both players going on to complete pars.

Hole 8: Stenson shines at Postage Stamp

Stenson had gone par-par-bogey over his first three visits to the iconic ‘Postage Stamp’ but saved his birdie for when it really mattered.

A 20-foot putt found the middle of the hole and Mickelson went left from eight feet as the Swede moved into the outright lead once more.

Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson walk between holes in The 145th Open

Hole 9: To the turn in 32

Two similar approaches to 10-12 feet set up birdie opportunities to close out the front nine but neither player was able to take advantage.

Two pars saw Stenson and Mickelson each reach the turn in 32, leaving the former still a shot ahead.

Hole 10: Anything you can do…

Mickelson found rough off the tee at the 10th but a remarkable second shot took him 12 feet from the pin.

Stenson drained a longer-range birdie putt to apply pressure but Mickelson held firm, sinking his own to stay within a stroke.

Hole 11: Stenson struggles at the Railway

The Railway Hole was the toughest across the week, scoring at more than half a stroke over par, and Stenson three-putted to card a bogey and drop back to 16-under.

Mickelson remained on that score after holding firm for par as the intriguing shootout continued in the early stages of the back nine.

Hole 12: Mickelson saves superb par

There was no let-up in the drama at 12.

Mickelson went left off the tee and hit his second shot on to a grassy knoll. He escaped to leave himself a 25-foot uphill putt for par and, after Stenson missed his shot at birdie, judged it to perfection to leave it all square.

Hole 13: Near misses

Two booming drives, two approach shots to between 20 and 30 feet, and two putts which just missed the cup.

Of his effort, Mickelson later said: “It was perfect speed, but it didn't break. It ended up not going in, and it totally shocked me. That was my chance to go one up.”

Hole 14: Stenson takes advantage

Mickelson was first to putt after both found the green at the par-3 14th but this particular 25-footer never threatened the hole.

He tapped in for par and then turned to watch Stenson judge his putt to perfection to move to -17 and retake a one-shot lead.

Hole 15: The 50-foot turning point

Stenson had been keeping his emotions in check but could not resist a fist pump on the 15th after landing a 50-footer from just off the green for birdie.

Mickelson looked to follow suit from around half that range and gave it every chance but the ball went right of the cup to give the Swede a two-shot lead.

Stenson Troon 2016

Hole 16: Three on the spin for Stenson

The advantage stayed at two following two contrasting birdies at the par-5 16th.

Mickelson found the green in two but saw his eagle putt come up agonisingly short. Stenson, by contrast, needed a superb third shot out of the greenside rough to take him to within five feet and he rolled in for his third successive birdie.

Hole 17: ‘One of the best shots of my life’

Standing at the 17th tee, Stenson was within touching distance of his first career major – and a sizzling tee shot put one hand, or at least a couple of fingers, on the Claret Jug.

He later described the 4-iron, which came to rest around six feet away, as “one of the best shots of my life, in the circumstances”. He may have missed the birdie putt but Mickelson, whose tee shot missed the green, could not take advantage and the gap remained at two heading down the last.

Hole 18: Stenson seals historic victory

Stenson survived a heart-in-mouth moment with his booming 3-wood off the tee, which stopped just short of a fairway bunker.

An approach to the heart of the green allayed any remaining nerves as Mickelson, who attacked the flag with an approach which came up around 25 feet short, needed two putts and completed his par.

Stenson had three shots to play with from 20 feet and needed just one, sealing the Championship in style with his 10th birdie of a staggering final round to finish 20-under-par for the week.

Stenson became the first Swede to win The Open in the process and his words on the green carried more than a hint of understatement.

“Wow,” he began. “This will take a little while to sink in. I want to thank Phil for a fantastic battle. We played some great golf.”

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