By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Henrik Stenson acknowledges that he may have been more confident in 2009 when he shot a final-round 66 to come from five strokes back to win THE PLAYERS Championship.
Experience, though, has got to count for something, and Stenson hopes it works in his favor in this Sunday's final round. He'll start the final 18 holes one stroke off the lead held jointly by Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia, who like Stenson are also former PLAYERS champs, and surprising PGA TOUR rookie David Lingmerth, a fellow Swede.
Stenson, who hasn't won on TOUR since that signature Sunday at THE PLAYERS, clearly relishes the opportunity.
"I might have been a little more confident in '09, and that final day was probably my best round of golf ever, given the circumstances of the tournament and how tough that golf course played," he said. "So we'll see, but I'm happy to be at the races. I've got more experience now than I had back then, so that should weigh out to something."
Stenson, who parred his final two holes in the weather-delayed third round on Sunday morning, took an immediate liking to the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. He tied for third in his 2006 debut and added a tie for 10th in 2008 before picking up the win. He tied for 15th a year ago, as well.
"I've got a great feeling playing this golf course," Stenson said. "I've liked it ever since I played the first time in '06. ... So I'll go out and do my job, and see if on the back nine if I can be in position and give myself a chance at it."
The back nine, though, has been problematic for Stenson this week. He's 11 under on the front and 1 over on the back, where the Swede closed with a 38 in the third round.
"Little bit disappointing finish on the back nine yesterday, but you know, back in at '09, when I won, I played really bad on a Saturday so it might be a good omen," Stenson said.
And the pars on the 17th and 18th Sunday morning were a positive for Stenson, who returned to the TPC Sawgrass property at 5:30 a.m. to prepare.
"You've still got to dig deep and prepare and do your normal stuff," Stenson explained. "It's not the easiest two holes to finish off in the morning at 7 o'clock, so I was quite pleased making two pars on 17 and 18. It's a wide-open tournament, probably 10 or 15 guys that can win this thing.
"So happy to be out there and just going to go back and rest a little bit and come back ready for this afternoon."