Henrik Stenson-Phil Mickelson Open battle better than 'Duel in the Sun' - Tom Watson

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland at Carnoustie

Tom Watson says that Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson's Open battle at Troon was of higher quality than his 'Duel in the Sun'external-link with Jack Nicklaus in 1977.

Nicklaus said his celebrated final round with Watson at Turnberry "was really good, theirs was even better".external-link

Five-time Open champion Watson, 66, agreed with his fellow golfing great as he prepared for this week's Senior British Open at Carnoustie.

"They played better golf than Jack and I did," Watson told BBC Scotland.

"It was very similar, in that two men were fighting it out at the end.

"What Henrik did was absolutely remarkable. The way he played was terrific. And the way Mickelson made those key par putts on 12 and 17 to keep him in it, that was vintage Mickelson."

Watson, who bade an emotional farewell to the Open at St Andrews last year, was at Troon on Saturday, doing some analysis work for American television.

But he was playing the new Trump Turnberry course on Sunday and listened to the thrilling finale unfold on the radio.

A final-round 65 gave Mickelson a four-round total of 267, which would have been good enough to win 140 of the 145 Open Championships.

But Stenson's record-equalling final Open round of 63 denied the American a second Claret Jug, and a sixth major title.

"Henrik played great golf and it will go down as one of the greatest Open Championships ever," Watson noted.

"It was one for the ages. People will remember this Open Championship throughout their lives. It was spectacular."

Senior Open 'good opportunity to get back in Open'

Colin Montgomerie fared less well at Troon in his first Open appearance for six years, finishing 78th of the 81 players who made the cut, on 17 over par.

While the 53-year-old Scot, who came through Open qualifying, has not ruled out trying to do the same ahead of next year's Championship at Royal Birkdale, he believes this week's Senior British Open presents a more likely route back into the main event.

Colin Montgomerie salutes the Open crowd on the 18th green at Troon
Colin Montgomerie has never won a major, but has three senior majors to his name

"It was my home course at Troon and I would have regretted it if I hadn't tried - I am not going to play another Open at Troon at my age," he told BBC Scotland.

"Whether I try to qualify for Birkdale is another thing. Thirty-six holes in a day is a bit of a lottery, 72 guys going for three spots. That is the only chance I have - apart from trying to win here.

"I have played The Open 23 times and loved every one, so I'd love to do it again. This is my first opportunity to try to get back in it, and probably as good a chance as any to get there."

Montgomerie has won three senior major championships in the last three years.

Another on home soil at Carnoustie this week would be extra special, but he is not looking at it as a last chance.

"The next time it comes to Scotland is in 2018 when we play St Andrews, which will be phenomenal. I would like to think I am still competitive then.

"I am looking at Bernhard Langer at 58 and he is still the favourite here. I am 53 so hopefully there will be opportunities again, but why not take it while it is here."

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