Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson battle in Open final round

The final pairing pushed it to yet another level during the final round on Sunday as Stenson and Mickelson carded the two best rounds on Sunday.

Phil Mickelson finally gave up the lead at the British Open.

Stenson only cared about that silver claret jug.

Sunday is set to see a cloudy and damp start but the afternoon, when the leaders go out, is expected to remain dry and the wind is not forecast to blow any more strongly than on Saturday.

Stenson's winning score of 20 under was a new Open record in relation to par, eclipsing the 19 under par total set by Tiger Woods at St Andrews in 2000. That had also been the major championship record until Day broke it in 2015. He did so at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in 2012 and '15, and perhaps more famously at the Cadillac Championship at Doral previous year.

Stenson also ended the streak of six straight British Opens at Troon being won by Americans.

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"I'm happy with the way I played, but disappointed it wasn't enough".

"The game of golf, it just comes and goes", Mickelson said.

He then went back in front at the third after rolling in a 20-footer for another birdie.

"Today", Lefty said Saturday evening, just outside the clubhouse, "could have been a day it got away from me".

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. They were tied eight times, and reached the par-3 14th tied at 16 under.

Like he did all day long, Stenson drained it.

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"As we know it's going to take some good golfing to do that, but I'm certainly willing to give it a try". "I'm sorry that it came at my expense". The distance between Mickelson and third-place finisher J.B. Holmes was 11 shots and the largest in Open history. Gerbich and Henrik Stenson used to play golf together. Stenson eclipsed the Open mark of 267 set by Greg Norman at Royal St. George's in 1993 and the overall mark of 265 by David Toms at the 2001 PGA Championship.

World number one Jason Day claimed he had never played in worse weather. Stenson's ball-striking was unreal, hitting 16-of-18 greens in regulation, and his putter was scorching hot as he needed only 27 putts to get around Royal Troon.

The 40-year-old Swede has never won a major despite several near misses. Beyond the score, the measure of his performance was that he putted for a birdie on every hole Sunday in a mild wind off the Irish Sea.

In conditions that were tough and windy early, but turned benign and sunny on the back nine, Stenson and Mickelson laughingly lapped the field.

After all, there has been an American champion in each of the last six Opens played at Troon, from Arnold Palmer in 1962 up to the unheralded Todd Hamilton in 2004. "He was a keen golfer, Mike this one is for you".

"Wow, this will take a little while to sink in", said Stenson.

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It is the 40-year-old Stenson's first major title, but the way in which he wrapped up glory made him look as if he were a veteran of several successful major championship Sundays.

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