THE OPEN: Stenson makes a sky-high promise

Matthew Lewis  Getty Images
Matthew Lewis Getty Images
Author

19 July, 2017

"I think once you win one, obviously that's off your shoulder", said Stenson, who carded a final round 63 to defeat Phil Mickelson by three shots at Royal Troon a year ago.

"I never felt it was a big problem not having won one, even though I badly wanted to win one", he told reporters. "It took a lot of chances to win that one, so I'm just going to go out there and do my best, really". I think it's going to be a very exciting time.

"Once you win one, obviously that's off your shoulder", he said.

"I think we had a pretty special evening the first evening, it was pretty good", Stenson said.

Nearly 12 months ago Henrik Stenson left Royal Troon as the victor of the 145th Open after an astounding final round of 63 - eight under par - that included ten birdies.

Although the 41-year-old missed the cut in this year's U.S. Masters and U.S. Open, he is confident of performing well at Birkdale a week after playing in the Scottish Open, usually a good omen for him.

"Look at my last four Open Championships - I played the Scottish Open twice, then finished second and first at The Open. And the two times I didn't go I finished around 40th", said Stenson, who finished tied 26th at Dundonald on Sunday. Stenson is regarded to have the unofficial lead in golf terms when he was pictured jet ski-ing with the Claret Jug.

"It had become like part of the family". "It's an iconic trophy".

That said, he also acknowledges that this was the same case a year ago when he arrived at Royal Troon. However, since missing the cut at Troon previous year, the world number two has gone from strength to strength, finishing fourth in the US PGA, 11th in the Masters and second in the US Open after a superb closing 66 at Erin Hills.

Stenson will partner former world number one Jordan Spieth in the first two rounds at Royal Birkdale, a player he is seeking to emulate as a multiple major victor.

"More than anything I'm going to enjoy being out there", Stenson said.

Perhaps Sir Nick Faldo thought this was the only way an Englishman would ever get his hands on the Claret Jug again. "It won't stop me from trying though".


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