Henrik Stenson Saturday (Third Round)
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it's a tough day overall for most players out there. It's as tricky as it gets. We can talk about all the pin positions and slopes and ending up slightly in the wrong place, but it's tough.
For myself, I still take some positives, even though I was disappointing with back‑to‑back doubles on 14 and 15.
I started off poorly and came off with three straight bogeys, and from there it can go south very quickly, I think, in this type of tournament.
I'm happy that I came back with a nice birdie on 4.
I hit a lovely tee shot on 5. Hit it over the green and had a lovely pitch. It's like 19 on the stimp. It starts coming backwards with a pitch, I had to go high and left over this hump. And if it takes one or two rolls, it's down stiff by the hole. And standing over a 6‑ or 7‑footer, you can almost sneeze it down the hole and it's still going to go three or four feet by when you miss it.
And then I birdied 6.
Had a good chance on 7. It was disappointing to make my first par, I guess, on 7.
And then came back with some great play in the middle of the round, birdied 10, 11, 12 and just missed it off the tee on 14 in the trap. It's a horrible position. That bunker has a very deep face. And got it back up on the fairway.
I struggled with my irons. When I hit short irons into the wind, I just don't get the right ball flight. They spin too much. I hit a 9‑iron, max it out with a 9, and it balloons up with me, lands ten yards short and spins back ten yards with a 9‑iron. Leaves me with a 60, 70‑foot putt and I hit that by, so I'm dead again. And then the next I have to lag it for a double.
On the next one, it got stuck in the really thick stuff on the last fairway bunker. I guess that's the one place ‑‑ I didn't really take my medicine. I still tried to hack it up with a 52 degree sand wedge, but the rough is unbelievable. I gave it with a full whack with a 52 degree sand iron, I hit it 7 yards farther up in the rough. And I hit one that goes seven or eight meters long and then I'm standing and I know I'm going to three‑putt. It's hardly any fun trying. I had to putt it off the green on the fringe and it came back down. I hit it five meters past and lucky to keep it on the green on the next one and just missed that.
And then three good pars and some good shots on the last three holes. If I could have kept it ‑‑ limited my damage to bogeys on 14 and 15, it would have been a 1‑over round. It's still not a bad round. I'm playing level par from 4 onwards.
1 and 2 are supposed to be some of the easier holes on the course and I managed to screw up a little bit on them.
The third hole I had a nice 3 on the middle of the green and got the most terrific putt, almost up on to the edge of the green and let it come down. You can't be upset when you three‑putt. I guess the only thing I would say, if the general public would play a course like this they'd probably all quit within a week. This is just brutal. It's as tough as it gets. It's as much a mental challenge as it is a golf challenge, because you constantly get beaten down. And every little mistake is costing you shots and testing your patience. I'm still up there. I got a bit frustrated obviously with back‑to‑back doubles, but other than that I'm hanging in and doing a good day's work.
HENRIK STENSON: A couple of shots better would have ‑‑ we would have looked at a different position. Anything can happen, as we know. If I can make ‑‑ if you go out and shoot 3‑under, which we know is a possible score, you never know what happens with a bit of wind and so on.
I have to recharge a little bit. I'm completely exhausted. I've been up four and a half hours between the rounds, I played six holes back, fell asleep for a little bit and didn't manage to do that, and came back out and six hours in the heat and in the rough constantly trying to focus. So it's very mentally draining, and physically, as well, I guess, on this course.