Harrington tips Mickelson for win

Irish golfer Padraig Harrington is tipping the short game of Phil Mickelson to hand him victory over Henrik Stenson in Sunday's final round of The Open Championship.

Going into the final round, American Mickelson trails Swede Stenson by one shot, who is on 12-under-par at the top of the leaderboard, while Bill Haas lies third at six under.

In an interview with Brian Keogh of the Irish Golf Desk, Harrington feels that though Stenson is in a great position to clinch his first major he is backing his friend Mickelson to lift his sixth major title due to his ultra-competitive way of playing including his exceptional short game.

“Obviously, Phil is very tough to beat head-to-head," said Harrington. "He loves that sort of thing. But if the two of them are six shots ahead going into tomorrow, it's between them. It's not far off of a 50-50 chance.

“You've got to understand it's only a two-horse race. I think that would help Henrik a lot if he's going out there tomorrow and they're far enough ahead of third place that they're not worried about anybody else. 

“Then it's just a straight match. If the two of them come back to the field and they're a shot or two ahead of three or four guys, I think that would help Phil more in the sense that Phil has been there and done it whereas Henrik has more to think about.  

“It would certainly clear up his mind tomorrow if they're, as I saw at the end there, six shots ahead. He just needs to look at the guy he's playing with and nobody else.”

Harrington added that what makes Mickelson so good is that he loves golf and particularly playing in head-to-head situations at the top of the leaderboard.

“Phil likes it. That's what he likes about golf. He loves head-to-head, he loves playing a match on a Tuesday of every tournament week. 

“He just loves that. He's very good head to head. Plus when you've got that great short game and you can get up and down from places, it does have a bearing in a match.

“When a guy thinks he's got the hole won because he's sitting over a 15-footer and you're in trouble, and you get up and down and all of a sudden he's got a three-footer for a half, even if he holes it, it's still wearing. 

“Phil has got that ability to hit the great shots which does help in match play.”