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Saturday, 16 July 2016
Henrik Stenson - celebrates a birdie on the the 17th green during the third round of the 145th Open Championship   (Getty Images)
Henrik Stenson - celebrates a birdie on the the 17th green during the third round of the 145th Open Championship (Getty Images)

Henrik Stenson will take a one-shot lead into the final round of The 145th Open Championship as he seeks a first Major Championship title at Royal Troon.

It was an enthralling third day on the Ayrshire coast as Stenson and Phil Mickelson - who came into the day separated by just a single shot - battled for supremacy at the top of the leaderboard.

It was the American who had entered the third round with his nose in front and while Stenson overturned that advantage quickly, Mickelson kept his cool and sat two shots ahead after 13 holes.

Stenson has not won ten European Tour titles for nothing, however, and two birdies in his final five holes saw him open up a slim advantage at 12 under.

The Swede already has a Race to Dubai, a FedEx Cup and Ryder Cup victories on his CV but a win on Sunday would be a crowning glory for a player who admits he may be running out of chances at golf's four biggest events.

He finished second to Mickelson at The Open at Muirfield three years ago as the 46 year old claimed his most recent European Tour victory, and will be looking to turn the tables on Scotland's opposite coast.

"This is the one thing I'm looking for," he said.

"I know what I would like to see tomorrow. There's no question about it. But in a way I've got a second and two thirds at The Open, so it's not like I'm looking to pick up any more of those finishes.

There's only one thing that matters tomorrow. I know he's not going to back down and I'm certainly going to try to not back down either - Henrik Stenson

"So it should be an exciting afternoon.

"He's one of the best to play the game in the last 15, 20 years for sure, and it's going to be a tough match. But I'm looking forward to the opportunity.

"I've worked hard these first three days to put myself in this situation and, once again, I'm going to try my hardest tomorrow to finish the job."

American Bill Haas sat six shots behind the leader with England's Andrew Johnston a further shot back.

Stenson got off to the perfect start as he put his approach to the first to 15 feet and rolled in a birdie to join Mickelson at ten under.

It looked like advantage Mickelson as Stenson found a bunker off the tee on the third but his drive had got him to the side of the green and an exquisite sand shot set up a birdie which the American matched.

The 40 year old then hit the front as he two-putted from 20 feet for a birdie on the par five fourth but he got in trouble off the tee on the sixth and then could not get up and down from the front bunker at the Postage Stamp.

Stenson made a big putt for par on the tenth but Mickelson's par save on the 12th was even better after finding serious trouble off the tee and when he holed from 25 feet on the next, the lead was two shots.

The five-time Major winner's progress was looking serene but Stenson put his approach on the par three 14th to four feet for birdie and a missed putt from Mickelson from even closer range led to a two-shot swing.

Mickelson edged ahead again on the 16th but when he failed to get up and down on the penultimate hole with Stenson holing from 20 feet, it was the World Number Six who led again.

Stenson's 54-hole total of 201 beats the record for an Open at Troon, previously set by countryman Jesper Parnevik in 1997.

Haas fired a 69 to get to six under, while Johnston had three birdies and two bogeys in a 70 highlighted by a chip-in on the 13th.

JB Holmes was then at four under, a shot clear of Søren Kjeldsen, Tony Finau and Steve Stricker.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1STENSON, HenrikSWE18-20
2MICKELSON, PhilUSA18-17
3HOLMES, J BUSA18-6
4STRICKER, SteveUSA18-5
T5MCILROY, RoryNIR18-4
T5HATTON, TyrrellENG18-4

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