The Latest: Henrik Stenson wins British Open for 1st major

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Posted: Jul 17, 2016 1:42 PM
The Latest: Henrik Stenson wins British Open for 1st major

TROON, Scotland (AP) — The Latest on the final round of the British Open (all times local):

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6:30 p.m.

After an epic duel at the British Open, Henrik Stenson has claimed his first major title.

Stenson shot an 8-under 63 on Sunday to beat Phil Mickelson by three strokes, becoming the first man from Sweden to win one of golf's biggest events.

Mickelson, seeking his sixth major title at age 46, did all he could to capture the claret jug. But Stenson gained the upper hand by rolling in a 50-foot birdie putt from off the green at No. 15 to take a two-shot lead — the first time all day the final group had been separated by more than one stroke.

In a fitting touch after two days of foul weather, the sun broke through just as the final group was teeing off at No. 1. This head-to-head matchup will surely be remembered alongside the "Duel in the Sun" at Turnberry between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus in 1977.

Stenson finished at 20-under 264 overall, breaking both the Open scoring record of 267 set by Greg Norman at Royal St. George's in 1993 and the major championship mark of 265 by David Toms at the 2001 PGA Championship.

Mickelson shot 65 for a 267 total.

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6:20 p.m.

Henrik Stenson is closing in on his first major title.

The 40-year-old Swede has a two-shot lead over Phil Mickelson with one hole to play in regulation at the British Open.

The two have been locked in an epic duel all afternoon, but Stenson delivered a crushing blow to Mickelson's chances of capturing a sixth major championship by making a 50-foot birdie putt from off the green at the 15th.

Stenson is at 19-under for the tournament and poised to break the Open scoring record. If he makes par on the 72nd hole, he'll eclipse the mark of 267 set by Greg Norman in 1993.

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5:40 p.m.

Henrik Stenson has reclaimed the upper hand in his epic British Open duel with Phil Mickelson.

Stenson rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt at the par-3 14th hole on Sunday to push his score to 17 under for the tournament.

Mickelson is one shot back.

In an amazing display of golf, Stenson and Mickelson have combined for 10 birdies, an eagle and only two bogeys in the final round. They are each at 5 under for the day.

How close have these two been? Over the last two days, they've never been more than two shots apart.

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5:10 p.m.

With his family all around, cancer survivor Matthew Southgate was in tears as he approached the 18th green at Royal Troon. A traumatic 12 months for the Englishman was ending on a high.

Southgate was about to complete a final round of 2-under 69 to secure a place in the top 15 of the British Open, a year to the week that he underwent surgery after being diagnosed with testicular cancer.

The 27-year-old Southgate says "words cannot describe how that felt walking down that last hole — 69 is a hell of a score for me on a day which meant so much."

Southgate had a 1-under 283 total and will earn an exemption into next year's British Open at Birkdale. He says "every day is a fight for me and when I walk to that first tee, it is like a boxer getting in the ring. I know I'm going to get hit but I am going to hit just as hard back."

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4:35 p.m.

Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson are locked in a memorable duel at Royal Troon.

In what has turned into a two-man match for the claret jug, they are going at it shot for shot, taking aim at a British Open course that is suddenly ripe for the taking. The wind has died down, and the sun even broke through a clouds a few times Sunday.

As they make the turn toward the tougher inward nine, Stenson and Mickelson are both at 4-under 32 for the round, leaving Stenson with the one-stroke lead he had coming into the day. Together, they have combined for seven birdies, one eagle and just one bogey. The margin has never been more than one stroke, and they've been tied much of the way.

No one else is even close. J.B. Holmes is holding down third place, a staggering nine shots off Stenson's 16-under at the top of the leaderboard.

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4:25 p.m.

"The Railway" hole can prove to be a card-wrecker at Royal Troon. Just ask Thomas Pieters.

The Belgian snapped his iron in two and flung both pieces in the nearby heather on the way to making a quintuple-bogey 9 at the 11th. He was 2-under for his final round at that point.

That par-4 hole played alongside a railway line ranks the hardest at Troon on Sunday. Like it did on Thursday and Saturday.

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3:20 p.m.

There already have been two lead changes in the first three holes of the British Open.

Henrik Stenson began the final round Sunday with a one-shot lead, but gave it up with three-putt bogey at No. 1. Phil Mickelson spun his approach shot about two feet from the flag and tapped in for birdie and a one-stroke lead.

Stenson tied it up with a birdie of his own at the second hole, rolling in a 15-foot putt. Mickelson made a brilliant up-and-down after missing the green with his approach, nearly holing out a chip over a bunker.

Then, at No. 3, Stenson made an 18-foot birdie putt to push his score to 13 under. He reclaimed the lead when Mickelson missed a 6-foot birdie try.

Conditions have improved for the afternoon starters at Royal Troon, with the sun breaking through the clouds and the winds dying down a bit.

It looks like there could be some low scores before the day is done. Jordan Spieth and Lee Westwood have already posted 3-under 68s, and five other players have turned in scores below par.

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2:35 p.m.

The duel is on at the British Open.

Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson teed off Sunday in the final group at Royal Troon, the sun breaking through the clouds just as they hit their opening shots along the Irish Sea.

Stenson is at 12-under 201, giving him a one-shot lead over Mickelson.

It looks to be a two-man competition. No one else is within six shots of the lead.

Just before walking to the first tee, Mickelson and Stenson met on the practice green next to the Royal Troon clubhouse.

"How are you, Henrik?" Mickelson asked.

They both smiled and shook hands.

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2:10 p.m.

Jordan Spieth has snapped an unwanted streak at the British Open.

The 22-year-old Texan had gone 10 straight rounds in major championships without breaking par. That run ended Sunday, when he shot a 3-under 68 in the final round at Royal Troon.

Spieth made an eagle at the par-5 fourth hole and added three more birdies on the inward nine to become the first player all day to break par on another windy day along the Irish Sea. It was his best round in a major since a 66 in the opening round of this year's Masters.

Spieth hopes to build on that momentum at the PGA Championship in two weeks. He dropped out of the Rio Olympics, citing health concerns.

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1:45 p.m.

This was supposed to be a British Open farewell for Colin Montgomerie.

Now the 53-year-old says he hopes to qualify again for golf's oldest major championship.

Montgomerie accomplished his major goal at Royal Troon, which was making the cut on his home course. Playing with a marker in the first group, he shot 76 on Sunday and finished at 17-over 301 for the tournament.

Asked if he would attempt to qualify for another Open, Monty says he'd "love to try and do that again." That was a change in his thinking before the tournament, when he indicated he wouldn't go through qualifying again.

Even in tough conditions, Montgomerie breezed through the final round in less than three hours. He wishes that was the norm in golf, instead of players routinely taking four hours or more. He says "the sooner we get back to trying to play this game at a sensible pace, the better."

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1:30 p.m.

Henrik Stenson takes a one-stroke lead into the final round of the British Open, looking to become the first male golfer from Sweden to win a major golf championship.

On another cool, rainy day at Royal Troon, it looks like a two-man showdown. Stenson leads at 12-under 201, while 46-year-old American Phil Mickelson is at 202.

The next player on the leaderboard is Bill Haas, six shots back.

Four Swedish golfers have won female major titles, led by Annika Sorenstam with 10 championships. No one has done it on the men's side.

Stenson is aiming to change that at age 40. This is the first time he's ever taken a lead into the final round of a major.

Mickelson hopes to become the second-oldest major champion in British Open history.