In one of the all-time great performances in golf history, Sweden's Henrik Stenson won the British Open Sunday at Royal Troon in Scotland.
Stenson carded a final round eight-under-par 63 that featured 10 birdies, many of them converted with long putts, to defeat American Phil Mickelson by three shots.
That tied the record low 63 Mickelson shot in Thursday's opening round. It also gave Stenson a major tournament record score of 264, 20-under-par, as he become the first male golfer from Sweden to win a major championship.
"Awesome. I've been so focused this week and on this day in particular," said Stenson. "I felt it was my time. I believed it was my time.
"It's been on all the shoulders of Swedish male golfers for a long time... Many great players from my country tried in the past years and decades, and there have been a couple of really close calls… I dedicate this to all the guys who tried before, and I am the lucky one," Stenson added.
There is little doubt Mickelson felt unlucky with how well he played on the final day, with not a single bogey in his six-under-par round of 65.
"It's probably the best I've played and not won," said Mickelson.
"It's disappointing to come in second but I'm happy for Henrik. He's really a great champion. We've been friends for some time. I've always thought he is one of the best ball strikers in the game and that major championships are perfectly suited for him, and I knew that he would ultimately come through and win. I am happy that he did. I am disappointed that it was at my expense."
Entering Sunday's final round, the world No. 6 Stenson held a one shot lead over Mickelson, who was five shots ahead of the nearest pursuer. As the day went along, the two men separated themselves further from the field, sharing the lead for a number of holes. Stenson finally took control at the 15th hole where he sank a 51-foot putt for birdie, giving him a two-shot lead that he never relinquished.
"It was a great match with Phil. It seemed like it was going to be a two-horse race all the way until the end," said Stenson, who at age 40 is the sixth oldest to be a first-time major winner.
"We managed to pull away from the rest of the field and we both played some great golf. And it makes it even more special to beat a competitor like Phil," Stenson added. "He's been one of the best to play the game, and certainly in the last 20 years, so to come out on top with such a fight with him over these four days it makes it even more special."
Finishing a distant third, 14 shots behind Stenson, was American J.B. Holmes.
The 46-year-old Mickelson has now finished second in major golf tournaments - The Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship - 11 times. He has won five majors. Only legendary American golfer Jack Nicklaus has more second place finishes in majors with 19.