The Open Championship: The Duel at Royal Troon

For his first time, Henrik Stenson has won the Open Championship by two shots. The Swede played unbelievable all week battling against Phil Mickleson all the way to get his first ever major victory. Both players are extremely popular with golf fans everywhere and both thrilled spectators who were watching with some incredible golf.

Rory Mcilroy image credit golf.co.uk
Rory was the best in the rain of Friday afternoon, but it was not quite enough (image credit golf.co.uk)

The difficult links style golf course, as ever in the Open had a serious impact on the leaderboard. The golf course all week was very much a tale of two halves. The front nine was certainly much easier as it all played with the wind so birdies had to be made there to make a good score overall. This is because the back nine was incredibly tough into the strong Scottish breeze. In fact Sky Sports showed while midway through the 4th round that the entire field all week had played the front nine in a combined +83, in contrast the back nine played a staggeringly +936. Even this world no.1 Jason Day could not handle the tough back nine at Royal Troon. He in fact did not have a birdie all week on the back nine until the Sunday.  The weather was an ever present factor all week also Stenson and Mickleson both managed to miss the worst of the awful weather on Friday afternoon and post a good score. From the warmth of the clubhouse they watched top players like Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson and Danny Willett all struggle in the high winds and driving rain. Rory Mcilroy was the best of the players in that half of the draw, but the putter was not firing all week and Mcilroy will have to come back next year to try and claim his second Claret Jug.

Beef-Johnston image credit golf digest
Golf’s fresh new face Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston (Image credit: Golf Digest)

A player who certainly caught a lot of attention despite not being very close to the lead or a big household name was Andrew Johnston, or as he is more well known as ‘Beef’. The englishman was loving it all week, reveling in the crowd who loved his down to earth charismatic attitude to the game of golf. It was only the second time Johnston has played in the Open and has certainly enjoyed his time at Royal Troon a lot more, having missed the cut last time in 2011. He was great fun all week and always had a smile on his face, happy to interact and charm the crowd with his infectious personality. Do not be fooled by the big smile and beard, he is a serious player with great quality. He won the Spanish Open at the extremely difficult Valderrama this year and did play some outstanding golf. He is exactly the type of personality golf needs to attract a younger audience and we at ‘The Biggest Sports News’ hope Beef keeps progressing.

Phil mickleson getty images
So close yet so far for Phil Mickleson (Image credit getty images)

However this week was really about two men. Two heavyweights of golf going head to head just as they had done in 2013 where Mickleson won the championship. They both played some incredible golf throughout the four days. Mickleson’s agonising 63 on Thursday where he was so unlucky not to have a record breaking 62, the lowest round in Open history. Stenson matched him on the Friday, carding a superb 65 in wet and windy conditions to play with Mickleson in the final group for the weekend. Setting up an incredible battle for the next two days.

Photo matthew lewis, getty images
What a tournament, what a champion (Image credit: Matthew Lewis, getty images)

In some of the best golf I have ever witnessed, both Mickleson and Stenson played out of their skin on the last 18 holes. Birdies were flying everywhere with putts being holed from all angles, they both threw everything at the golf course, trying to squeeze every shot from the course in order to beat one another. Incredibly they played a combined -14 under, Stenson with a 63, Mickleson with a 65. Phil Mickleson could do no more, he was so good, despite all the pressure and expectation that he was under he blitzed the golf course. Unfortunately for the American, everything he did was either matched or bettered by Stenson. Nicknamed ‘the Iceman’ he broke the record for the Open championship as well as the Major scoring record of an all time low 264.

Henrik Stenson, the Open Champion and victorious in the duel, at Royal Troon.


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