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Brilliant Mickelson outpaces everyone but Stenson in British Open duel

Posted by Betonline Team on 7/21/2016 5:07:14 AM
Brilliant Mickelson outpaces everyone but Stenson in British Open duel

Phil Mickelson played brilliantly during the British Open. He carded a final round 65 with four birdies and an eagle. That is enough for victory during many final rounds.

It wasn’t for Phil because 40-year-old Henrik Stenson, who never won a major, was better at Royal Troon and won by three shots when he carded a 63 final round. He rolled in 10 birdies and nearly had an 11th when he missed a short putt at the par three 17th.

It seemed strange because Stenson was banking in putts from the three-point line. He did not let up because he knew he could not win the Claret jug without pushing to the end. Mickelson kept charging and knocking on the door. Stenson kept matching it and doing something better.

It turned into mano a mano golf because the rest of the field could not keep up with these brilliant shot makers. It was almost a duplicate of an old Larry Bird-Michael Jordan McDonalds commercial. Off the backboard, around the corner and switch.

“I knew he wasn’t going to back down at any point, and in a way that makes it easier for myself,” Stenson said. “I knew I had to keep on pushing, keep on giving myself birdie chances and he wasn’t going to give it to me, so I had to pull away.”

Stenson’s 20-under matched Jason Day’s 2015 PGA Championship as the lowest round in major history.

Meanwhile, Mickelson is closing in on a record of his own. This was his 11th-second place finish in a major and he only trails Jack Nicklaus (19).

Usually, Mickelson blows tournaments with crazy strategic moves. He loved to gamble and go for greens when it was best to lay up. This was different. He did all the right things at the right times but Stenson was a little better in this two-horse match race.

“It’s probably the best I’ve played and not won,” Mickelson said. “I think that’s probably why it’s disappointing in that I don’t have a point where I can look back and say I should have done that or had I only done this. I played a bogey-free round of 65 on the final round of a major. Usually, that’s good enough to do it, and I got beat.”

How good was Mickelson? His score was better than 140 of 144 Open champion scores.

“I felt like this was going to be my turn,” Stenson said. “We managed to pull away from the rest of the field and we both played some great golf. It makes it even more special to beat a competitor like Phil. He’s been one of the best to play the game.”

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