The 145th Open Championship could have gone a few ways on Sunday with two guys leading the pack by a comfortable margin. We could have gotten a dud — either of the frontrunners, Henrik Stenson or Phil Mickelson, could have gone off while the other sputtered. We could have had a free-for-all with both Stenson and Mickelson falling back to the pack and putting the Claret Jug up for grabs. Or, we could have had the best possible scenario — which we got — with Stenson and Mickelson going head-to-head, back-and-forth for 18 holes of pure golfing bliss.
In the end, Stenson played the round of his life and claimed his first major championship thanks to 10 birdies on a difficult Open set up. Mickelson didn’t lose the Open, he was beaten. A Sunday 65 for Lefty was the second-best round of the day by two shots, yet he still was two shots worse than his playing partner.
For his part, Stenson shot 63, the lowest score ever recorded in a major championship, and only the second such score on the final day of a major. His 20-under par total tied Jason Day for the lowest major score to par and his 264 total set the lowest major championship scoring record. Perhaps most importantly for Stenson, though, was becoming the male from Sweden to win a major championship.