Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Stenson, Mickelson in British Open battle

Published:Sunday | July 17, 2016 | 7:00 AM
Phil Mickelson of the United States
Henrik Stenson of Sweden
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TROON, Scotland (AP):

Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson went toe-to-toe for four hours yesterday in the British Open, trading pivotal par saves and four lead changes in the cold wind and occasional rain at Royal Troon.

And now they get to do it again, this time with the claret jug at stake.

Stenson had a pair of two-shot swings on the inward par 3s and got up-and-down on the 18th for a 3-under 68, the second straight day that no one had a better score. It gave the 40-year-old Swede his first 54-hole lead in a major, by one shot over Mickelson, who is going for his sixth major.

Links golf can deliver some strange finishes, though this had all the trappings of a two-man race.

Stenson had his third straight round in the 60s no one has ever won at Royal Troon with all four rounds in the 60s and was at 12-under 201. He is trying to become only the eighth player dating to Old Tom Morris in 1861 to win his first major after turning 40.

Mickelson, winless since he lifted golf's oldest trophy at Muirfield three years ago, had a 70.

Lefty had made only three bogeys in his last 103 holes at Royal Troon dating to 1997, and a 25-foot birdie putt on the 13th hole gave him a two-shot lead. Stenson answered with a 5-iron to 6 feet for birdie, and Mickelson three-putted for bogey. They were tied.