GREENSBORO, N.C. – Chris Couch and Henrik Stenson withdrew from the Wyndham Championship on Friday.
Stenson, who opened with a 68, withdrew before the start of the second round due to illness. He came to Greensboro ranked 112th in the FedExCup.
Couch injured his wrist and withdrew after 12 holes. Couch, who shot 70 in the first round, was ranked 153rd in the FedExCup entering the Wyndham Championship.
AUGUSTA, GA. -- Henrik Stenson would love to have the tee shot at the 18th hole back, the one that veered left into the trees.
And in retrospect, given the lie he had in the pine straw when Stenson attempted his third shot from 240 yards, perhaps throttling back to a 7-iron rather than the 4-iron he chose might have been the better play.
But that's what happens over and over again at Augusta National. One bad shot leads to another and before you can say "Bobby Jones," things are spinning out of control.
That's what happened to Stenson, who came to the 18th hole leading the 76th Masters at 5 under before signing for a disappointing 1-under 71.
"You make a little mistake and then you compound it with another one and it keeps on snowballing," Stenson said as he set his sunglasses on his cap. "And I got the snowman in there."
Not much of a birthday present for the man who turned 36 today.
Stenson's 8 matched six others, most recently Camilo Villegas in 2007, as the highest on the 18th hole -- one that he had played in a cumulative even par in 18 previous rounds. It's his second 8 in competition at the Masters, though; the Swede also made a snowman at the par-3 fourth in the first round last year.
Stenson, who had never broken 70 in six previous Masters, had made the turn in a red-hot 31 after posting a pair of eagles, both on putts in the 15-foot range, on the front nine. Still, things weren't all that "stable," he acknowledged, and after the 11th hole, Stenson didn't hit another fairway.
Eventually, the 2009 PLAYERS champ paid the price.
"If you can't get the ball in play off the tee, you're going to drop shots," Stenson said with a shrug. "... Playing out of the forest most of the back nine, it's going to cost a little bit sooner or later. Disappointing that it cost that much."
Stenson's troubles at the 18th began when a low hook found the bushes. The ball was playable, although Stenson was unable to get it through the gap and back out to the fairway. He had a difficult lie in the pine needles and asked for a ruling, as he had in a similar spot at No. 15, but there he got relief from trailer tracks as opposed to the footprints at the 18th.
Stenson then fired a 4-iron up the fairway and hit a wedge from 136 yards over the green. His fifth shot was a foot from being stiff, Stenson estimated, but stopped in the collar of the green. From there, he three-putted for the 8.
"Small margins, and obviously with hacking a few earlier, that just made it worse," Stenson said. "Finishing with an 8, I don't think I've ever done that."
Had he chosen the aforementioned 7-iron instead of the 4 and played for a pitch short of the green, Stenson figured he would have made no worse than a 6.
"But I guess that's the difficult part here, accepting your mistakes and even play for a double bogey, and you're still going for the better one," Stenson said. "That's when this course really bites back. Alvaro (Quiros) did it on 7, had a wedge and had to walk away with a triple. It can really grab you, and I sure got my bit of it on 18."
Stenson did take out some frustration on the pine straw after he hit his third shot. All in all, though, he was remarkably composed after leaving the scoring area and making the rounds of TV and print interviews.
"Well, I've got a temper, but it's almost like I got past that stage," Stenson said. "It's easier to walk away with just changing the bag, no full length clubs anymore or just forget about it, and I need my clubs tomorrow, so I choose that part."
The tee times for the first round of this week’s The Honda Classic have been released. CLICK HERE for the tee times. Use the space below to comment about the pairings at PGA National.
Here’s a look at some of the notable groups in the first two rounds:
Jim Furyk/Y.E. Yang/Henrik Stenson
Yang has owned PGA National in recent years, with a win and a second-place finish.
Kyle Stanley/Keegan Bradley/Rory McIlroy
Three of the best players in the world under the age of 30, and all three bomb the ball.
Mark Wilson/Rory Sabbatini/Camilo Villegas
These three players won at PGA National in 2007, 2011 and 2010, respectively. Villegas and Wilson squared off in a four-man playoff (with Boo Weekley and Jose Conceres) on a steamy Monday in 2007, which Wilson won.
Lee Westwood/Ian Poulter/Tiger Woods
No introduction needed for this trio. Tiger makes his first start at PGA National. This is the third consecutive year Westwood has teed if up here. Tied for ninth in 2010.
John Huh/Charl Schwartzel/Ernie Els
The PGA TOUR's newest winner (Huh) immediately graduates to an A-list tee time with a pair of major champions.
Anthony Kim/Mike Weir/Mark Calcavecchia
Can Kim and Weir get their games turned around at the start of the Florida Swing? And don't count out Calcavecchia, who has lived in Palm Beach for many years. He tied for fourth here in 2008.
Now, it’s your turn: Which groups are you most interested in following this week?
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Henrik Stenson has yet to make a birdie on Saturday during the third round of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
Even so, the Swede has broken out of a three-way tie for the lead and now is alone at the top of the leaderboard at 12 under. His playing partners, Justin Leonard and Bio Kim, have both dropped one shot to par and trail by one.
James Driscoll, who entered the week ranked No. 125 on the money list, has joined the group at 11 under after making birdie on three of his first four holes.
Luke Donald, who must finish in a two-way tie for second or better to have a chance to win the money title, is headed in the right direction early Saturday. He made a 5-footer for birdie at the third hole to move to 8 under and into a tie for 11th.
The man Donald is trying to unseat, Webb Simpson, started off with a 12-footer for birdie on No. 1. But he missed a 6-footer for par at the fourth hole and couldn't get up and down from left of the green at the par-3 sixth so Simpson is now tied for 28th at 6 under.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Henrik Stenson probably wouldn't have been making his first appearance at the Children's Miracle Network Classic if he had made the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
When he didn't, Stenson needed a to add a couple of tournaments to fulfill his PGA TOUR membership obligation of 15 events. Now that he's here at Disney, the Swede figured he might as well make the best of it, and he has -- playing perhaps his best golf of the season to tie for the lead.
Stenson’s 64 -- his career low on the PGA TOUR -- on Friday enabled him to move to 12 under and into a tie with Justin Leonard and Bio Kim.
"I guess I would still rate the 66 at Sawgrass a little bit higher than this 64, but I'm very pleased with that score obviously," said the 2009 PLAYERS champion. "... I kept the ball in play and took my chances when I had them. Made a couple good up and downs. Hit a couple really good shots. Stayed out of trouble most of the day."
Stenson started strong with four birdies in his first nine holes, then played his back nine in 4 under, too, thanks to two birdies and a 35-footer for eagle at the 14th hole. His best shot, though? The 6-iron into the wind at the 16th hole that settled 3 feet from the pin.
"That was probably the highlight shot," the affable Swede said.
Stenson, whose best finish in 2011 is a tie for 28th in Puerto Rico, said he's been "battling" most of the season. He said his confidence is growing, though, and while you always hope for days like Friday, it was nice to have one finally happen.
"I just made some progress last couple of months, more than
anything in my approach I think to the game," Stenson said. "I'm
still not happy with the way I hit it. There are a couple of funny
shots here and there. But I'm working on the stuff that I really
can control, picking my targets and all of the stuff that you guys
think of as boring outside the scoring, you know.
"So that's what I've been trying to do, and it's obviously helped me."
Maybe having a home game helps, too. Stenson lives at Lake Nona, which is about 30 minutes from the sprawling Disney complex. He was headed home for some sushi and an evening with his wife and two kids.
"Very Swedish," someone suggested when he mentioned the Japanese staple.
"We had meatballs the other day," Stenson deadpanned.
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup will be missing five major champions as well as one former PLAYERS champion when The Barclays begins on Thursday.
Angel Cabrera, who has two majors on his resume, as well as former British Open champs Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton and PGA winners Rich Beem and Shaun Micheel, won't be participating after missing the cut at the Wyndham Championship.
All came into the week ranked outside the top 125 in the FedExCup standings and didn’t earn any points as a result. Other notables on the sidelines are Henrik Stenson, who won the 2009 PLAYERS Championship; Rocco Mediate and Boo Weekley.
BETHESDA, Md. -- As Rory McIlroy prepares to tee off in the third round of the U.S. Open, we put a question to you:
Will Rory be the leader after 54 holes?
He tees off leading Y.E. Yang by six and by eight over Zach Johnson, Henrik Stenson, Jason Day, Fredrik Jacobson. Johnson birdied the first hole to get to 3 under, while Stenson is there after eight holes, Jacobson after nine and Day after 10.
We already know McIlroy’s six-stroke lead ties Tiger Woods in 2000 at Pebble Beach for the largest 36 hole lead and Woods went on to win by 15 shots over Ernie Els. In the other majors, record 36-hole leaders have won five of six times.
Tell us what you think.
BETHESDA, Md. – Think Henrik Stenson doesn’t have major game?
Look at the way he’s playing this week at the U.S. Open. The Swede has just birdied Nos. 3 and 4 to move to 2 under and into a growing tie for third at Congressional.
Consider this, though. Since he won THE PLAYERS Championship in 2009, Stenson has posted three top-10s on TOUR – all of which have come in major championships.
Stenson finished ninth at the 2009 U.S. Open and tied for sixth at the PGA Championship. Last year, his only top-10 came when the Swede tied for third at the British Open.
And he’s working on another at Congressional this week. Think patience has something to do with it?