Scoring Records of the British Open

Henrik Stenson celebrates en route to setting multiple British Open scoring records at Royal Troon in 2016
Henrik Stenson had much to celebrate at the 2016 British Open: He set multiple tournament scoring records. Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

The British Open, founded in 1860, is the oldest of the four major championships in men's professional golf and has served as a benchmark for golfers since its first tournament.

What are the scoring records at golf's oldest championship? We'll take a look at that in several different ways, including the 72-hole tournament totals (both total strokes and strokes under par), plus the 18-hole and 9-hole records.

72-Hole Scoring Records at the British Open

Currently, Henrik Stenson holds the record for the lowest finishing score, both for total strokes and for strokes in relation to par. He set the records during the 2016 British Open. Stenson's winning score was 264, which was 20-under par on the par-71 golf course that year.

Previously, Tiger Woods held the record at 19-under par, coming in at just 269 strokes to finish out and win the 2000 British Open, and he came close again in 2006 but finished at 18-under par instead.

Here are those lists of top performers:

Lowest 72-Hole Stroke Totals

  • 264 - Henrik Stenson, Royal Troon, 2016
  • 267 - Greg Norman, Royal St George's, 1993
  • 268 - Tom Watson, Turnberry, 1977
  • 268 - Nick Price, Turnberry, 1994
  • 268 - Jordan Spieth, Royal Birkdale, 2017
  • 269 - Tiger Woods, St. Andrews, 2000

Lowest Winning Scores in Relation to Par

  • 20-under - Henrik Stenson, Royal Troon, 2016
  • 19-under - Tiger Woods, St Andrews, 2000
  • 18-under - Nick Faldo, St Andrews, 1990
  • 18-under - Tiger Woods, Hoylake, 2006

18-Hole and 9-Hole Records

What about the single-round scoring record at the Open Championship? And the best 9-hole score ever recorded?

For years, the 18-hole record was 63, first recorded in 1977 and shared by many others. But at the 2017 British Open, Branden Grace, in the third round at Royal Birkdale, became the first-ever male golfer to shoot 62 in a professional major. Grace earned his 62 by shooting 29 on the front nine and 33 on the back nine.

And 29 for one nine in the British Open is great, but it's not the 9-hole record. That still belongs to a golfer named Dennis Durian, who in the 1983 Open (also at Birkdale) carded a front-nine 28.