• Played first two rounds with Jordan Spieth last year
• Last Euro to win the Masters was Olazabal in 1999
THE MASTERS | Henrik Stenson
Henrik Stenson is approaching Augusta National a little differently this week.
The big-hitting Swede, still without a major victory, has had five top-20 finishes in his last nine Masters. But he wants a win, so he’s planning to attack the course more than normal this week.
Last year’s winner, Jordan Spieth, might just have something to do with his new game plan.
“I played with Jordan the first two days and he was playing great. His putting was outstanding and he also had of luck. There were a couple of times when he swayed a little bit and he got the right bounces and then followed it up with a great shot and a great putt and walked away with a birdie even though it never looked like one off the tee."
Spieth’s aggressive game play last year led to 28 birdies, a Masters record.
“That takes some golfing to beat 28 birdies around here,” noted Stenson. “That's certainly one part of (the new approach).”
'I went more aggressive last year and shot my lowest score round here'
The Swede comes into this week on the back of a runner-up spot in the Shell Houston Open, and ended last season on the PGA Tour with three second place finishes in the money-spinning FedExCup play-offs. The last European to win the Masters was Jose Maria Olazabal in 1999.
Stenson closed his Augusta account last year with a four-under 68 to finish tied 19th, and it’s a round that has stuck in his head.
“I went more aggressive and that’s the lowest score I’ve shot around here. So that kind of put me in that direction, that I need to play a bit more aggressive. But you’ve still got to play well, otherwise you’re not going to get the score that you want to get. That’s the starting point at least.”
Henrik Stenson close shaves
The Swede, who celebrates this 40th birthday today, has been in the fight for majors in the past, most recently at the USPGA Championship at Valhalla in 2014, where he led twice on the final day but ended up two short of Rory McIlroy.
That, though, won’t count for much come Thursday.
“The ball doesn't know that I was tied third at Valhalla,” he said with a smile, “so I’ve got to teach it again this week where it needs to go. You’re not going to get a given just because you had a close call in the past, that’s for sure.”
Will you be putting money on Henrik Stenson? Share your betting tips in our 'Comments' section below.