Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson locked in British Open battle

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Photo: Getty Images

by John Garrity

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TROON, SCOTLAND — The wind wouldn’t stop, and neither would Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson, who pulled away from the field in the third round of the Open Championship at Royal Troon.

On a gloomy day that saw winds gusting to 30 miles per hour and greens going un-mowed, the 46-year-old American and the 40-year-old Swede traded the lead several times, but Stenson shot 33 on the difficult closing nine to post a three-round total of 12-under-par 201, one better than his playing partner.

The Stenson-Mickelson pairing was essentially match play, as no other player mounted a charge. Bill Haas shot 69 for 207, good for third place, but still six strokes off the pace. Andrew Johnston, the bushy-bearded Englishman, was fourth at 208, with Americans J. B. Holmes (209) and Steve Stricker (in a three-way tie for third at 210) barely in sight.

That sets up a final-round duel between Stenson, a perennial contender who has never won a major, and Mickelson, who has won five. The weather forecast is for cool and windy conditions.



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