Steady Stenson holding firm

7/14/2013 4:28:00 PM
Henrik Stenson   (Getty Images)
Henrik Stenson (Getty Images)
Henrik Stenson remained two shots clear as Castle Stuart Golf Links bore its teeth in the final round of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.

Strong winds meant none of the first 26 players to finish had done so under 70, a stark contrast to the opening day when 117 players broke par in perfect conditions.

And World Number Eight Phil Mickelson soon became the highest-profile victim of the conditions with a double-bogey six on the opening hole to suffer a blow to his hopes of a first individual victory on British soil.

Mickelson topped his second shot from the rough on the 439 yard par four and then compounded his shocking error by three-putting, dropping him back to 12 under par.

That was four behind overnight leader and playing partner Henrik Stenson, who had opened with a par to remain 16 under.

Mickelson bounced back immediately with a two-putt birdie on the par five second, although he did not gain any ground on Stenson, who also birdied after pitching to four feet.

Both players then missed the fairway on the third but after Stenson hit the green with his approach, Mickelson's rolled off the left edge, from where his chip up a slope was not hit hard enough and came rolling back to his feet.

That led to a bogey but the 43 year old again responded superbly, holing from 25 feet for birdie on the fourth as Stenson missed from two feet to bogey and see his lead back to two shots over South African Branden Grace and England's John Parry.

Mickelson also birdied the fifth and sixth from close range and was yet to record a par, but even his recovery was being overshadowed by some remarkable golf from Denmark's JB Hansen.

Hansen had taken a quadruple-bogey nine on the par five second after hitting two shots into bushes, but hit back with five straight birdies to get under par for his round and 15 under for the tournament.

That was briefly one behind until Stenson holed from 18 feet for birdie on the sixth, but Hansen was still in a share of second with Mickelson and Northern Ireland's Gareth Maybin.