Stenson wins duel with Mickelson to win the British Open

Phil Mickelson of the United States looks down as he holds the silver plate, for being runner up in the British Open Golf Championships at the Royal Troon Golf Club in Troon, Scotland, Sunday, July 17, 2016.

Stenson's total score of 264 was the lowest in Open history and it was the first time anyone has finished so far below par at the Open.

"In the last 15-18 months I had a lot of great opportunities", said Stenson, who did not have long to celebrate lifting the Claret Jug before flying to Switzerland early on Monday morning to take part in Ryder Cup team-mate Sergio Garcia's charity event. In the first round, if his birdie putt on the 18th hole had not spun out of the cup, he would be the first player in history to shoot 62 in a major.

"I'm not sure how I'm going to feel", Mickelson said.

"I'm happy for Henrik, he's really a great champion", he continued.

He said: "I'm proud of how I played and I did well enough to win by a number of strokes yet I got beaten by three".

"But I'm very encouraged by the way I hit the ball today". In the end it came down to a battle between Stenson and Phil Mickelson but there were eye-catching displays from JB Holmes, Steve Stricker and new crowd favourite Andrew Johnston, among others. "I was terrified of taking someone's head off with a drive", he said.

Maybe birdie every hole.

At the age of 40, Swedish golfer Henrik Stenson is hoping his long-awaited first major victory at the British Open on Sunday proves to be just the beginning.

"My previous record in majors is not something you want to keep on hearing, but I just felt like this was going to be my turn", added the man from Gothenburg, who now lives in Florida.

"With the BBC having never shown the opening tee shot of the Open live".

"I rolled a couple putts the last couple days a little better as well, so I go to the PGA encouraged with how I played".

"I don't have a point where I can look back and say, I should have done that or had I only done this".

But Stenson said the five-footer he made at the 16th was just as important. No matter, they were the best players on the planet for a weekend and their "Duel in the Gloom" of a wet and windy west coast Scottish summer will be long remembered as something as remarkable as the one at Turnberry nearly 40 years ago.

This was heavyweight material, reminiscent of the "Duel in the Sun" just down the Ayrshire coastline at Turnberry in 1977, when Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus battled right down to the final hole, and no one else was closer than 10 shots.

"I was thinking about that", Mickelson said with a slight smile.

"I know that I wanted to be more of Tom in that case than Jack, but unfortunately (not)".

After winning three times on the Challenge Tour in 2000, including the Grand Final in Cuba, Stenson won his first European Tour title the following year but then went through the first of two career slumps, the second coming in 2011 and leaving him 230th in the world rankings at the start of 2012.

Stenson matched Mickelson blow-by-blow, carding 10 birdies of his own in a round that will go down as one of the greatest of all time.

"I didn't get up and down many times either, so I left a lot out there".

For Mickelson, it's a chance to get over the sting of such a bitter defeat. Stenson made a matching birdie, pulling off a nifty up-and-down from the thick grass left of the green.

"This trophy is fantastic", Stenson said.

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