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  • March 17, 2020 10:31 PM EDT

    TROON, Scotland -- Henrik Stenson kept hitting the best shots of his life, one after another, because there was no other way to beat Phil Mickelson in an Open showdown that ranked among the best in golf. Shannon Sharpe Jersey .Stenson shot an 8-under 63 on Sunday to finish the tournament at 20-under and claim his first major championship. He won Sundays matchup with Mickelson by 2 strokes and the Claret Jug by 3 over the American.Stensons final stroke of this major masterpiece was a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole at Royal Troon that tumbled into the cup on the final turn. His 63 matched Johnny Miller for the lowest closing round by a major champion.I didnt know until they told me in the recorders hut, Stenson said when asked if he knew that last putt was for 63.Both Stenson and Mickelson played stellar golf, combining for an eagle, 14 birdies and two bogeys in the final pairing.Thank you very much for a great fight, Stenson told Mickelson as he accepted the Claret Jug.Stenson ended his winners speech on the 18th green by dedicating the victory to a close friend who died of cancer the day before The Open started.I feel like he has been with me all week. Mike, this one is for you, said an emotional Stenson as he raised the Claret Jug one more time and kissed it.Mike Gerbich was a pal of the Stenson and his wife Emma when they lived in Dubai. Gerbich and Henrik Stenson used to play golf together.I know hes hurting inside, Stensons caddie Gareth Lord said. Its a perfect way to say thanks.Stenson delivered a crushing blow to Mickelsons chances of capturing a sixth major championship by making a 50-foot birdie putt from off the green at No. 15 that gave him a 2-shot lead with three to play. It was the first time all day the final group had been separated by more than 1 stroke.The 40-year-old Stenson started walking when the putt was halfway there, stopping to pump his fist, rare emotion for the Swede with ice-blue eyes.Mickelson narrowly missed an eagle putt on the 16th hole, and Stenson kept his 2-shot lead with an up-and-down for birdie from the deep rough.I knew he wasnt going to back down at any point, and in a way that makes it easier for myself, Stenson said. I knew I had to keep on pushing, keep on giving myself birdie chances. He wasnt going to give it to me, so I had to pull away. Im just delighted I managed to do that with a couple of birdies at the right time.Mickelson led only once, a two-shot swing on the opening hole. They were tied with five holes to play until Stenson made an 18-foot birdie on the par-3 14th and then buried Lefty with a putt that defined his moment as a major champion.J.B. Holmes finished third. He was 14 shots behind.Those guys are playing a different golf course than everyone else, Holmes said.Stensons previous best finish in a major was a tie for second at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, which Mickelson won for his most recent major victory.He gave Sweden a long-awaited major in mens golf, 19 years after Jesper Parnevik lost a 54-hole lead at Royal Troon. Stenson said Parnevik sent him a message that said, Go out and finish what I didnt manage to finish.Im really proud to have done that, and its going to be massive for golf in Sweden with this win, Stenson said.Stensons total of 264 set a record for lowest score at a major. Stenson eclipsed the Open mark of 267 set by Greg Norman at Royal St. Georges in 1993 and the overall mark of 265 by David Toms at the 2001 PGA Championship. Stenson also tied Jason Days record for lowest score under par set last year at the PGA Championship.Its disappointing to come in second, but Im happy for Henrik, Mickelson said. Ive always thought that he is one of the best ball strikers in the game and that major championships are perfectly suited for him. I knew that he would ultimately come through and win. Im happy that he did. Im disappointed that it was at my expense.For Mickelson, its an 11th runner-up finish at a major in his career. Only Jack Nicklaus, with 19, has more second-place results.Its probably the best Ive played and not won, Mickelson said. Thats probably why its disappointing in that I dont have a point where I can look back and say, I should have done that or Had I only done this. I played a bogey-free round of 65 on the final round of a major. Usually thats good enough to do it. And I got beat. I got beat by 10 birdies.The Associated Press contributed to this report. Priest Holmes Jersey . Now, correct me if Im wrong but I saw one official distinctly pointing at the net indicating a good goal but after an inconclusive review they overturned the goal.  Shouldnt the ruling on the ice (good goal) stand after an inconclusive review?  Why was this overturned?  James Veaudry Pembroke, ON --  Hey Kerry, Youll get a lot of these, but why was the Montreal goal against Nashville Saturday night overturned? Eller puts the puck on net and the on ice ruling from the ref behind the net is a Montreal goal. Jermaine Lewis Jersey . Barcelona also left injured defenders Carles Puyol, Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba out of its squad for the trip to Glasgow. That means that Marc Bartra will probably start again in the centre of the defence alongside Gerard Pique. . -- The boos poured down on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at the end of a horrible first half. Dan Quinn hopes hes got his Atlanta Falcons ready for just this moment.The Falcons started October with back-to-back wins over last years Super Bowl teams, Carolina and Denver. Then came a pair of mentally challenging defeats. First, it was a two-point loss at Seattle. Then, it was an overtime loss at home to San Diego last week caused, in part, by Quinns failed decision to go for it on fourth down on his side of midfield in the extra period.Thats kind of where a lot of your character is tested, when its under duress, Quinn said. Weve really spent a lot of time developing this mental toughness that we have. We spent a good bit of our offseason demonstrating our language for it. Knowing this game, theres going to be difficult moments, difficult times, and how do you reset?Its not just coach-speak. Quinn brought in a group of Special Forces soldiers during training camp. He hopes their message will pay off when the Falcons (4-3) host the Green Bay Packers (4-2) in a big NFC showdown on Sunday afternoon.We really developed our own standard of the player accountability to one another, Quinn said. Knowing at times, bad things happen, and youre going to be in a dark spot. How do you get through? It takes a lot of mental toughness. One of the things that I love about our team right now is how hard they want to play for one another. Knowing that the guy next to you can be counted on, and the guy next to you youre counting on, those are really important topics. Although theyre difficult processes to go through, we dont like it but we are ready to take on the challenge and onto the next.The next challenge is a Green Bay offense that found life in a Thursday night victory over Chicago. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who had struggled through most of the first five games, turned to a quick-hitting passing game to complete a team-record 39 passes, with receivers Davante Adams and Randall Cobb and receiver-turned-running back Ty Montgomery all catching at least 10.Rodgers said the momentum from that game cant be carried over into this game, but the offense is feeling much better about things after piling up 406 yards and controlling the ball for almost 40 minutes against Chicago.On the road and in an environment like that, youve gott to start fast and take the crowd out of it, Rodgers said. Peter Boulware Jersey. Weve been in there multiple times and know how loud it can be when its rocking. Theyve lost a couple in a row, so Im sure theyre looking for a bounce-back game, and were going down there with some confidence. Weve won in that building before and weve won big games on the road before. Weve just got to put it all together.Green Bays offense will need a repeat performance because Atlantas offense has been nothing short of dominant. The Falcons are No. 1 in scoring (32.7 per game), No. 1 in total offense (433.6 yards per game) and No. 2 in passing offense (319.0 yards per game). Matt Ryan has thrown for at least 200 yards in a league-record 46 consecutive games and has a glitzy passer rating of 113.6, and receiver Julio Jones is on pace for 1,900 yards and topped 250 against the Packers in 2014 at Lambeau Field.Hes been exceptional, Ryan said. Hes one of the best players in the NFL and hes played that way week in and week out for us. Theres so many things both in the run game and the pass game. Hes played great so far this year.On paper, this game projects to a shootout dominated by the quarterbacks.With injuries sidelining running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks, the Packers top player in the backfield is Montgomery, who the Packers list as a receiver on the depth chart. Meanwhile, Atlantas defense ranks 27th in scoring, 26th in yards allowed and 31st in passing yards allowed.On the flip side, Ryan is off to the best start of his career and will be attacking a Packers secondary that might be without its three top cornerbacks.We trust our defense to do their job, but we know weve got to be efficient and score points, especially in the red zone, Rodgers said. Weve been doing a great job on third down, ranking at the top of the league there, but the red zones been slipping a little bit. Weve been not scoring (touchdowns) as often as we need to do. In a game where youve got Matt playing so well and Julio obviously having a big season, youve got to expect them to make some plays, so were going to have to score some points. ' ' '