The history books suggest it's a two-horse race at The Open

Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson are in the final group on Sunday afternoon

the open, royal troon, carnoustie, mickelson, stenson, garcia, harrington, lawrie, van de velde, els, scott

Picture by: Peter Byrne / PA Wire/Press Association Images

In 1977, Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus took part in the "Duel in the Sun". The two Americans went into the final round of The 105th Open with a three-shot lead over the rest of the field. 

Watson would beat Nicklaus, by a solitary stroke at Turnberry, with a full ten-shots between them and third place. While Sunday's battle between Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson may not see a ten-shot gap between second and third place, history dictates the winner will come from that duo.

Jay Haas begins the final round in third place, six shots behind Stenson. Only three players have ever come from at least six back, going into the final round to lift the Claret Jug.

Despite all three occasions coming in the last 20 years, do not expect that list to grow on Sunday evening.

Padraig Harrington came from six shots back to beat Sergio Garcia in 2007. Picture by: Matt Dunham / AP/Press Association Images

In 1999, Paul Lawrie came from a massive ten-shots back to beat Jean van de Velde and Justin Leonard in a playoff at Carnoustie. The French star triple-bogeyed the final hole to give Lawrie and Leonard a second chance.

Eight years later, Padraig Harrington came from six-shots back to beat Sergio Garcia in a playoff, coincidentally at Carnoustie. Harrington started the day in a tie for third-place, but a two-over par round from Garcia gave the Dubliner the opportunity to claim his maiden major title.

In 2012, Ernie Els started six back in a tie for fifth behind leader Adam Scott. The Australian bogeyed his final four holes to let Els win by one.

The three occasions have seen the leaders fall backwards, while someone from the chasing pack has had an excellent round. It's entirely feasible that Stenson or Mickelson have a bad round. but not both of them.

Since 2010, three of The Open champions have come from the final pairing in the fourth round. Expect that record to grow again on Sunday eveing. 

news cards