Troon 63 repeat may not be enough, concedes Stenson


Henrik Stenson conceded that even a repeat of his stunning Sunday showing at Royal Troon last year is not likely to be enough to retain his Open title.

The Swede roared back into contention at Royal Birkdale on Saturday courtesy of a 65, but on a day when Branden Grace recorded the first 62 in majors, most of the leading contenders also profited from the favourable conditions. 

Having carded a 63 during the final round in 2016 to hold off the challenge of Phil Mickelson and lift the Claret Jug, Stenson does not believe a similar display this Sunday will suffice.

He said: "It might well have to be something like that [a 63], depending on what the last couple of groups are doing. If they keep on making birdies, that 63 might not even be good enough. We'll see.

"I'm just happy with the way I played and should move up in the result list and hopefully get closer to the leaders.

"But you never know, they might shoot five or six under. We'll just have to sit back and watch."

The 41-year-old played alongside Chang Yikeun, who shot a 71, with the South Korean and reigning champion appearing to enjoy each other's company. 

"He said he'd watched me on television growing up," said Stenson. 

"It was great company. I never met him, never played with him before, but he's a solid player.

"He didn't have the kind of day that he would have liked to, but we had a good time out there.

"He finished with a couple of birdies, so that surely made it feel a little bit better for him."