High Noon at Troon

July 18 2016


Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson chips in on Stenson's win for the ages



This is the reason we watch sports, care for sports, invest our passion in sports.

Sometimes you are going to see something that becomes a standard, a thread in our personal tapestry of life-long moments we like to draw around us.

It's seeing an athlete perform at a level even their peers can barely imagine.

Henrik Stenson, 63 strokes on a Sunday at The Open, the second player in the grand and long and rich history of golf to write those two digits at the end of a Sunday at a major and lift the trophy.

Stenson gave us one of the majestic performances in the history of golf, a show of ball striking that measures up against any in the game, a round which, beyond imagination, rendered a bogey-free 65 in the final round of The Open by Phil Mickelson as a footnote as Lefty lost by three.

Tweeted Senators defenceman and fellow Swede Erik Karlsson: "You make me inspired. @henrikstenson stort grattis kunde into giort det battre ! #TheOpen #jerringpriest"

According to Google translate that's something along the lines of "congratulations, could not have done it better."

We had the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson in 1977. Nicklaus shot 65-66 on that hot and dry weekend. He lost by a stroke to Watson.

This might go down as "High Noon at Troon."

No bogeys, four birdies and an eagle and it still wasn't enough for Mickelson which shines an even brighter light on Stenson's brilliant round. Mickelson's 17-under par score would have won all but three of the previous 144 Open Championships.

Mickelson has now finished second at a major 11 times, the second most after Nicklaus (19).

Stenson went 20 deep, matching Jason Day's record for the best score in relation to par in a major at last year's PGA Championship.

Stenson had four birdies in the final five holes to win his first major. He shot 63 and had two bogeys, both with the putter.

It's probably the best I've played," said Mickelson afterwards, "and not won."

Somebody, I think it might have been Jack Nicklaus, once said, "you don't win majors, everybody else loses them."

Mickelson didn't lose this one.

Stenson won it.

Lydia Ko won the LPGA's Marathon Classic on Sunday in a playoff, the 14th victory in 81 starts for the 19-year-old, a remarkable winning percentage of 17.28%

That's pretty remarkable. She wins almost one out of five times she tees it up (could have been more; she lost in a playoff to Brooke Henderson last month at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship and couldn't close the deal last week after leading after 54 holes at the U.S. Women's Open).

The other stat that I find almost more impressive: she has made the cut in 80 of her 81 LPGA starts. That is an incredible indication of her level of play relative to her peers.

As impressive as Ko's winning percentage might be, it's not even close that that of Tiger Woods and the longer it is since his last start (and who knows when the next one will be), I think we'll appreciate what he did even more.

According to Kyle Porter at CBS Sports, Woods has won 79 of his 324 starts, 24.2 percent or almost one in four of his starts.

To put that in perspective, none of the other top guys are better than 10 percent: Rory McIlroy (9.91 percent), Mickelson (7.75 percent), Jordan Spieth (8.16 percent).

It was another mediocre performance for Brooke Henderson on the LPGA Tour with a tie for 38th at the Marathon Classic. She's been looking like a player who could use a break (she's only had a couple of weeks off since the middle of April) and now she'll get one.

The UL International Crown this week (featuring the top four players from eight countries) doesn't include Canada, so the Canadian crew will get the week off.

Henderson will head for England for the Ricoh's Women's British Open July 28-31 and then there's no competition until the Olympics in Rio August 17-20.

Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que,, carried over her fine play from the U.S. Open (T26) with a tie for 11th at the Marathon Classic, good for $23,180 and giving her $46,542 in her past two starts. She had earned $43,000 this season heading into the U.S. Open, so she's more than doubled her money in two events.

That's important for the 27-year-old and will go a ways to put her in position of keeping her card for 2017. She said at the U.S. Open she was planning on going to England to try and qualify for the British Open.

Why not? She's playing great.

Alena Sharp of Hamilton had another good week, too, as she tied for 11th, as well. Sharp is playing the best, most consistent golf of her 11-year LPGA career, a great development for a player who thought her career might be done at the 2011 U.S. Open.

Speaking of good Canadian performances, Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., had his second-straight top-10 finish on the Web.com Tour with a T10 at Lincoln Land Charity Championship as he went 65-64 on the weekend.

Svensson's last seven rounds: 67-69-69-68-69-65-64. That's 29-under. He's moved up 12 spots on the money list to 53rd.

After missing the cut, Rideau View member Brad Fritsch dropped another spot on the money list to sixth place.

ARCHIVE

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