Open champion Stenson dedicates victory to close pal who died of cancer
London, July 18 : Newly-crowned Open champion Henrik Stenson has dedicated his Claret Jug to a close friend who passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer on the eve of the tournament. The 40-year-old Swedish golfer edged past American competitor Phil Mickelson by three shots to win his maiden major trophy. He also became the first Scandinavian man to win a major in the 145th British Open at Royal Troon on Sunday. "I lost a dear friend on Wednesday morning, Mike Gerbich," Stenson was quoted as saying by the Daily Express. "He died of cancer on Wednesday. I felt like he has been with me all week. Mike, this one's for you." "He was one of the real good guys back in Dubai. I had news on Tuesday that the end was near, and unfortunately he passed away on Wednesday morning," Stenson added while giving his victory speech. Shedding more light on their family heartache, Stenson's wife Emma said she was glad her partner had dedicated his victory to his late friend at the end of a gruelling week. "It is hard talking about it," she said. "Mike was one of those guys who lights up a room when he comes in. Henrik played for him this week so I am glad he did it." Stenson surpassed former world number one Tiger Woods' Open record for the lowest score by finishing 20-under par with a final-day 63. He also equalled the lowest single round ever at a major tournament.