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August 1 2013

3:24 PM

Shoe switcheroo aids Stenson

Henrik Stenson reflects on his play with Fred Albers from PGA TOUR Radio on PGATOUR.COM and SiriusXM.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

AKRON, Ohio -- A mid-round equipment change, of sorts, helped Henrik Stenson climb another leaderboard on Thursday during the first round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.

Stenson was breaking in a new pair of golf shoes this week at Firestone Country Club. He played nine holes Tuesday and another nine on Wednesday with no issues -- but by the time the Swede made the turn in competition the shoe had "just started to eat away a little bit on my right heel."

Someone fetched Stenson's old shoes, though, and he was able to finish what turned out to be his career-low at Firestone in relative comfort.

"Might not match the outfit perfectly, but it felt like I got socks on compared to the other one when I made the switch at the turn," Stenson said. "It was good."

And the blister popped on the 17th hole. Even better.

Stenson has been playing extremely well of late, finishing 10th in Munich, third in Scotland and solo second at The Open Championship. Thursday was a continuation as he made a 5-footer for birdie on the first hole, then drained a 32-footer for eagle at No. 2.

"Birdie-eagle start, you can't get any better than that," Stenson said. "Yeah, I feel I'm playing nicely and just doing my job on every hole and not get ahead of yourself, and whenever I missed I managed to save myself a couple of really nice up and downs today, and yeah, I'm very pleased with the start.

Stenson, who added two more birdies on the back nine, was the only player in the morning wave who didn't make a bogey. He only hit eight fairways and 12 greens in regulation but a hot putter kept Stenson one stroke behind Webb Simpson.

"It's been coming along nicely," Stenson said. "... At the British I hit a lot of good shots but I didn't feel like I played perfect there by any means, so it was definitely better here today than it was at the Open Championship. It's in the right direction and feels like it's coming along and moving in the right direction for sure."

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