Stenson's blistering start in third round of The Open

Further in the Open, Rory McIlroy had an impressive front nine, which included a bogey at the first followed by dropped shots at the third -- where he three-putted - and the fifth.

Henrik Stenson hits a tee shot during the third round on day three of the British Open.   -  Getty Images

Henrik Stenson topped the British Open leaderboard after starting on a impressive note in third round at Royal Troon on Saturday. Beginning the day at nine under par, Stenson made birdies at three of the first four holes to reach to 12-under, which made him one shot clear of Phil Mickelson. The American began his round at 10-under and picked up a shot with a birdie at the par-four third.

A gap opened up behind them to the chasing pack, with JB Holmes, Sergio Garcia, Bill Haas, Tony Finau and Soren Kjeldsen all stuck at six under. US Open champion Dustin Johnson scored birdies at four, seven and nine to drag his score up to five under par. Further in the Open, Rory McIlroy had an impressive front nine, which included a bogey at the first followed by dropped shots at the third -- where he three-putted - and the fifth.

Later on he birdied the long fourth and the sixth, while a birdie putt at the short eighth stopped right before the entrance of the hole, which finally left him with one-over for the day and one-under for the championship at the turn.