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Duel at Troon Changes Landscape

Posted by Webster Washington on 7/21/2016 5:00:18 AM

In an ancient sport that has seemingly been taken over by youth, two "old guys" showed the way at one of golf's oldest venues. Phil Mickelson, age 46, and Henrik Stenson, 40, were at the top of the British Open leaderboard going into the final round Sunday at Royal Troon in Scotland. They stayed there, and climbed, and dueled in a classic display of golf. With PGA Championship betting just on the heels of this event, the two give bettors more options to consider.

Besting the Best

While any given Sunday over the last two years has featured a leaderboard with one of the young lions currently at the top of world rankings, at Royal Troon their elders simply left them behind.

Stenson fired an 8-under 63 on Sunday to finish the tournament at 20-under par and win his first major championship. He won the day's matchup with Mickelson by two strokes and the tournament by three.

But it wasn't until the 15th hole of this final round that Lefty would let his old friend see the light of day. That was when the Swede sunk a 50-foot birdie putt from off the green to take a two-shot lead. Stenson's final stroke of brilliance was a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole that tumbled into the back of the cup.

Both Stenson and Mickelson were near perfect all day, combining for an eagle, 14 birdies and two bogeys in the final pairing.

J.B. Holmes finished third in the tournament. He was 14 shots behind.

For the Futures

Mickelson and Stenson have been friends for years. You could tell on Sunday that, even in the heat of such a competition, they enjoyed playing in the same pairing. They seemed to actually inspire each other to play their best in this friendly but fierce competition. Will they ever play that well in a final round again? Maybe, if they're matched again in a final pairing. But that's not likely. Fact is, both players are playing well, but Mickelson is nearing the end of his career. Sunday may have been his last chance at glory. Stenson, on the other hand, may be the new Dustin Johnson. Now that he's over the hump of winning a major after being in contention so often, he may enter a new rivalry of top five golfers in the world. Mickelson and Stenson are currently listed just behind the world's top four in betting on the PGA Championship later this month. You have to say they belong.

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