The majors are the four most prestigious golf tournaments in the world: The Masters, The U.S. Open, The Open Championship and The British Open. These events are widely regarded as the ultimate tests of golfing skill and determination; only the best of the best are able to survive and thrive through a 72-hole tournament.
The 72-hole competition at The Open Championship is a test of endurance, but also one of mental fortitude as many players must go through the course four times to complete the competition. If you’re not up for the challenge, you’ll want to find another Open, the winner of which will be crowned with the trophy at the end of the week, and the winner of which will hoist the Claret Jug.
Of all the great golfers who have won the Open over the years, only one, Swede Henrik Stenson, can be credited with the lowest 72-hole score in the world’s oldest golf championship, first held in 1860. It took almost a century for a player to finish with a score of 10-under at The Open, when Peter Thomson captured first place in the 1958 tournament at Royal Lytham & St. James. St. John’s. Annes, making Stenson’s 20-under result at Royal Troon in 2016 even more impressive. Until then, only two other players had come close to the 20-under, namely Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods, who posted two of the four lowest 72-hole scores in Open Championship history.
Open Championship logo | Ross Kinnaird/R&A via Getty Images
Until 1990, the lowest Open Championship score over 72 holes was that of Lee Trevino, who shot a 14-under par at Royal Birkdale in 1971. But in 1990 Nick Faldo broke that record by four strokes with a phenomenal score of 18 at St Andrews.
He started the week with a score of 5-67 and was tied with Greg Norman after 36 holes in the second round with a score of 65, for a total of 12-0. His score of 67 in the third round gave him a five stroke lead after 54 holes and he won by the same margin with a 71 in the final round.
Tiger Woods also scored an 18-under (67-65-71-67) at the 2006 Royal Liverpool, an emotional victory as it was his first since the death of his father two months earlier.
Six years before his victory at Royal Liverpool, Woods won his first Open in 2000 with a dominant performance at St Andrews, where he broke Faldo’s record with 19-under.
Following his record-breaking 15-stroke victory at the US Open at Pebble Beach, Woods began his week at St Andrews with a 5-under 67 before playing a 6-under 66 to head into the weekend with a three-stroke lead. He extended his lead to six points with a 67 in the third round and closed the tournament with a 69 for a score of 19 under, eight strokes better than Thomas Bjorn and Ernie Els.
The victory made Woods, then only 24, the youngest player to win a career Grand Slam. He also won the 2000 PGA Championship and the 2001 Masters to complete the Tiger Slam.
Tiger’s record of 19 under was held for 16 years, until Henrik Stenson became the second player to shoot 20 under in a major championship (Jason Day shot 20 under at the 2015 PGA Championship), and apparently the first at The Open.
After his opening round of 68 at Royal Troon, Stenson was five strokes behind leader Phil Mickelson, who opened with an 8-under 63. After 36 holes Stenson was just one stroke behind Lefty with a score of 65, and after 54 holes Mickelson was one stroke ahead with a third round score of 68.
In a round considered by many to be one of the best in major championship history, Mickelson showed phenomenal golf by shooting a 6-under 65 and finishing with a 17-under score. But Stenson was better: He shot an 8-under 63, at the time the lowest round in major history, and finished the week with a 20-under score. 264 strokes was the lowest in the majors to date.
Statistics provided by TheOpen.com
COMPARED TO: Who is the lowest ranked golfer to ever win a major championship?
Frequently Asked Questions
What was the lowest score in 72 holes?
The lowest score in 72 holes was a -6.
What is the lowest golf tournament score?
The lowest golf tournament score is a 72.
What is the 72 hole scoring record for the British Open golf?
The 72 hole scoring record for the British Open golf is 18-under-par.
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