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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 203
WORDS BY ADRIAN BALLANTYNE F OR a guy with the nickname “Iceman”, when it comes to majors, Henrik Stenson has watched more than his share of chances melt away. A runner-up and two third-places at the Open Championship, two thirds, a fourth and a sixth at the PGA Championship, and a fourth-place at the US Open are indicative of both an unquestioned ability to be there at the business end of the world’s biggest tournaments, and also of an inability to take the next step. Ironically, it was Phil Mickelson’s quartet of back-to-back birdies that thwarted his biggest chance to join golf’s most exclusive club at the 2013 Open, when the Swede briefly held the lead on Sunday before failing to match Mickelson’s closing charge. At 40 years old, 16 years after he was handed his nickname after winning the European Tour’s secondary Challenge Tour, it was debatable whether Stenson would ever entirely live up to that moniker. Well, this week the “Iceman” cometh. Stenson is Sweden’s first male major winner after producing arguably the greatest final round in major history, having carded an 8-under 63 at a course where only one other man finished at better than 8-under for the entire tournament. That in itself is beyond impressive, but the colossal scope of that achievement comes sharply into focus when you consider that five-time major winner Mickelson produced the best final round at a major of his career – going bogey-free and adding six birdies over the last 18 holes – but still came up well short. Mickelson’s final score of 17-under would have won him all but four Opens dating back to 1860, and yet he still went home empty- handed. By three strokes, no less.
GA Express 202
GA Express 204