Stenson stealing show from betting favorites in British Open

In a fit of anger after a poor shot, Rory McIlroy slammed his 3-wood to the ground and snapped it. It has been that kind of week for the big four betting favorites in the British Open.

McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth are out of contention going into the final round. A majority of bettors are knocked out, too.

The leader was a long shot on Thursday and is looking to win his first major on Sunday. Henrik Stenson is at 12 under par and one stroke ahead of Phil Mickelson after three rounds at Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland.

Stenson was posted as the 4-7 favorite (minus-175). Mickelson, who led for most of the first three days, is at 8-5 odds. Mickelson is winless in 62 starts since hoisting the British Open trophy in 2013. Stenson, a 40-year-old from Sweden, is 0-for-41 in majors.

“I expect Stenson to thrive in this situation. I would be surprised if he implodes,” Westgate golf oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up winning by three or four shots. I think Stenson will look forward to this situation.”

Stenson shot a 3-under 68 on Saturday, two shots better than Mickelson in their head-to-head duel. Stenson went into the tournament at 25-1 odds, with Mickelson at 30-1, and neither player was heavily supported by bettors.

“We’re in good shape with both guys,” said Sherman, adding that only “horrendous weather conditions in the afternoon” could potentially prevent the final round from turning into a two-horse race.

There were 156 players in the field Thursday. Odds are posted on only five players going into the final round. Bill Haas (30-1) is six shots back, Andrew Johnston (80-1) is seven back, and J.B. Holmes (125-1) trails by eight.

Johnson, the U.S. Open champion in June, is 11 shots behind Stenson. McIlroy is 12 back and one club lighter. Day, Spieth and former UNLV star Adam Scott are over par and way out of the picture.

Stenson finished second to Mickelson in the British Open three years ago, when Mickelson started the final round five shots out of the lead and rallied to win his fifth career major.

Contact sports betting reporter Matt Youmans at myoumans@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2907. Follow @mattyoumans247 on Twitter.

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