By Tony Jimenez
TROON, Scotland (Reuters) – Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson were locked together at the top of the leaderboard on 16-under-par through 12 holes as the pair produced some dynamic golf in the British Open final round on Sunday.
Swede Stenson began the day one stroke clear of his playing partner but Mickelson showed he meant business at the first hole, drilling a majestic approach to tap-in range for a birdie.
Stenson, who bogeyed the opener after taking three putts from long range, bounced straight back by sinking an eight-foot birdie putt at the second.
He then went back in front at the third after rolling in a 20-footer for another birdie.
Despite winds gusting up to 25mph, both men made further inroads on par at the long fourth, Mickelson claiming an eagle and Stenson having to settle for a birdie.
The putts continued to go in at the sixth, Mickelson coaxing in his effort from 10 feet before Stenson matched him from four feet.
Stenson restored his one-shot lead at the Postage Stamp eighth hole, rattling in an 18-footer to go 16-under before both players made birdies at the 10th.
Matching each other blow for blow as the wind started to die down and the sun broke through the clouds, Mickelson leveled matters again at the 11th after the Swede three-putted for bogey.
The coveted Claret Jug seems destined for Stenson or Mickelson because the player in third place, American JB Holmes, is seven-under through 14.
(Editing by Martyn Herman)