If Henrik Stenson could just figure out how to avoid disasters at Augusta National’s two closing holes, he’d be leading the Masters.
Stenson was cruising and for a second day in a row, he was tripped on the way home. After making a quadruple-bogey 8 at No. 18 in the first round, dropping him from the lead into a tie for 14th, Stenson double-bogeyed No. 17 Friday after coming within two shots of the lead.
He at least birdied No. 18 on a 20-foot putt to get partial redemption. And he noted that his second 71 of the week, for a 2-under 142, still puts him well within range of co-leaders Fred Couples and Jason Dufner at 5-under.
Stenson also is pleased he got through the day, since he’s battling flu-like symptoms.
“I’ve probably got more Vitamin C in me than an orange factory,” said the native of Sweden who climbed as high as fourth in the world three years ago before a slump brought on by errant shots with his driver. “I had a bit of a sore throat, achy body and a little bit of a fever so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was pretty pleased.”
Stenson was 2-under with no bogeys through 11 holes in the second round, bogeyed No. 12, but got it right back with a birdie at the 13th.
He hit his tee shot at No. 17 into the trees on the left but remembering his hard lesson from the day before at No. 18, he didn’t try to hit a heroic shot and punched the ball out safely.
But he pulled his wedge left of the right pin placement and three-putted from there.
Stenson hit 3-wood off the 18th tee (he used his driver only at Nos. 8 and 15) and smacked a 6-iron from 177 yards onto the putting surface.
Stenson hopes he’s gotten his bad holes out of his system, along with the touch of flu.
“I’ve taken more and more hits than most guys so far,” he said. “If I can still stand up and keep going after that, I think I’m going to be stronger.”