All that was missing from his CV was a Major title but it’s there now. There are simply not enough superlatives to do justice to Henrik Stenson’s performance in winning the Open Championship at Royal Troon on Sunday.
The golf he produced was as good as it gets. The 40-year-old is just the second player to have carded 63 in the final round of a Major, while Jason Day is the only other man, at last year’s US PGA Championship, to finish a Major on 20 under par.
Stenson’s 72-hole total of 264, achieved in tough conditions, is the best ever tally in a Major and three shots lower than the previous record at the Open Championship, set by Greg Norman at Sandwich in 1993.
To go into the final round just a shot behind, as five-time Major winner Phil Mickelson did, and card a flawless 65 but still lose by three shots goes to show how phenomenal Stenson played. He was sublime.
It was a great tussle between those two and it revived memories of the Duel in the Sun between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus at Turnberry in 1977. It was quite magnificent.
Stenson finished 14 shots clear of third-placed JB Holmes of America, which exemplifies how dominant he and Mickelson were. In 2011, Stenson finished the year ranked No207 in the world so it’s an astonishing comeback. He’s a great guy too, a fun guy who enjoys life. He has a good sense of humour and is one of the boys. At the same time, he works very, very hard at his game.
England’s Tyrrell Hatton. meanwhile, produced a great birdie at the final hole at the Scottish Open the week prior to the Open Championship and he seemed to carry that momentum with him to Royal Troon. Tied fifth on four under represented a good finish.
Andrew Johnston, nicknamed Beef, also deserves a mention after recording his first top-10 finish at a Major. He came eighth with a score of three under and moved into the world’s best 100 players as a consequence.
Former world No1 Rory McIlroy had a week strewn with mistakes and bogeys but still managed to finish in the top 10 alongside Hatton and Spain’s Sergio Garcia on four under, which goes to show how good he is.
But while these guys did well, all the talk has to be about Stenson. He’s an outstanding talent who will obviously take a lot of confidence from this victory. A first Major win could well open the floodgates.