Stenson’s charity hopes hit
Henrik Stenson’s hopes of donating the first prize of the SAS Masters to his own Foundation took a blow on Thursday.
Henrik Stenson’s hopes of donating the first prize of nearly £143,000 to his own charitable Foundation took a blow today when he began the SAS Masters in Malmo with only a level par 73.
At 7,665 yards Barseback, Stenson’s home course, is the longest in European Tour history.
The world number seven thought that would be in his favour, but he trails England’s Lee Slattery by six – and was relieved it was not by far more.
“I played like a pig and got away with murder,” said Stenson. “I didn’t play well at all, but the little Seve and Houdini in me was out there.”
The Ryder Cup star was again wearing a green ribbon in his cap in support of an Iranian friend, as he did at The Open last week.
“It’s a symbol for democracy in Iran and I felt it was an important gesture.”
Slattery, ranked 497 places below Stenson, holds a one-stroke lead over Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez.
Without a top 20 finish since he was fourth at the KLM Open in Holland last August, Slattery was first man to tee off at 7.30am and birdied the first four holes.
The last of those was a chip in and he did it again only two holes later before making a 10-footer on the long ninth to turn in a brilliant six under 30.
An hour-long suspension in play because of the threat of lightning took the wind out of the 30-year-old’s sails, but after bogeying the long 12th on his return he got up and down from a greenside bunker at the 558-yard 16th and parred the last two for a six under 67 that kept him at the top of the leaderboard all day.
“The length of the course is ridiculous given the size of the greens,” he said after a round containing only 22 putts.
“I’ve not been playing my best and I woke up and just thought ‘enjoy it and trust your swing.’
“After making the start I did it just felt like the pressure was off. The field is not as strong this week, so it’s a chance to do well and secure my card – although I’m trying not to think about that.”
Only the top 115 on the money list at the end of the season retain their membership and the Southport golfer is currently 136th. Two years ago he missed out by less than £60 and had to return to the qualifying school.
Australian Brett Rumford joined Slattery on six under, but then ran up a closing triple bogey seven after losing his first drive and being forced to chop out of the trees with his second.
All the first round scores in the European Tour SAS Masters, Barseback G & CC, Malmo, Sweden.
(Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 73):
67 Lee Slattery
68 Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg)
69 Tano Goya (Arg), Klas Eriksson (Swe), Pablo Martin (Spa), Pablo Larrazabal (Spa)
70 Brett Rumford (Aus), Richie Ramsay, Martin Erlandsson (Swe), Branden Grace (Rsa), Oskar Henningsson (Swe)
71 Steve Webster, Gary Murphy, Alexander Noren (Swe), Magnus A Carlsson (Swe), Alejandro Canizares (Spa), Marcel Siem (Ger), Jamie Donaldson, Danny Willett
72 Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Jeppe Huldahl (Den), Christian Nilsson (Swe), Gareth Maybin, Maarten Lafeber (Ned), Pelle Edberg (Swe), Chinnarat Phadungsil (Tha), Marcus Higley, Niclas Fasth (Swe), Anders Sjostrand (Swe), Wade Ormsby (Aus), Sam Little, Michael Hoey, Marcus Fraser (Aus)
73 Mikael Lundberg (Swe), Jonathan Caldwell, Damien McGrane, James Driscoll (USA), Peter Lawrie, Will MacKenzie (USA), Callum Macaulay, Joel Sjoholm (Swe), Robert Rock, Andrew Oldcorn, Henrik Stenson (Swe), Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (Fra), Mattias Eliasson (Swe), Paul Waring, Francois Delamontagne (Fra), Peter Gustafsson (Swe), David Lynn, Jacob Olesen (Den), Ignacio Garrido (Spa), Jean-Francois Lucquin (Fra), Ross McGowan, Jyoti Randhawa (Ind)
74 Joakim Haeggman (Swe), James Kingston (Rsa), Robert Dinwiddie, Jean Van de Velde (Fra), Birgir Hafthorsson (Ice), Johan Wahlqvist (Swe), Johan Edfors (Swe), Peter Hanson (Swe), Wil Besseling (Ned), Alessandro Tadini (Ita), Antti Ahokas (Fin), Santiago Luna (Spa), Rafael Cabrera Bello (Spa), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Jesper Parnevik (Swe), Richard Bland, Jarmo Sandelin (Swe), Scott Drummond, Simon Khan, Marc Cayeux (Zim), Richard S Johnson (Swe), Christopher Doak, Peter O’Malley (Aus), Fredrik Andersson Hed (Swe)
75 Christian Cevaer (Fra), Nathan T Smith (USA), Stuart Davis, Ake Nilsson (Rsa), Mikko Ilonen (Fin), Per Barth (Swe), Simon Dyson, Joakim Rask (Swe), Eirik Tage Johansen (Nor), Matthew Millar (Aus), Taco Remkes (Ned), Phillip Archer, Barry Lane
76 John Mellor, Thomas Aiken (Rsa), Patrik Sjoland (Swe), Per-Ulrik Johansson (Swe), Kenneth Ferrie, Mads Vibe-Hastrup (Den), Steven O’Hara, John E Morgan, Wilhelm Schauman (Swe), Bradley Dredge, Michael Lorenzo-Vera (Fra), Hennie Otto (Rsa), David Horsey, Andrew Coltart, Kane Webber (USA), Seve Benson, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra), David Dixon, Inder Van Weerelt (Ned)
77 Robert Jan Derksen (Ned), Robert Carlsson (Swe), Alvaro Velasco (Spa), Kyle Stanley (USA), Ben Mason, Daniel Vancsik (Arg), Marco Ruiz (Par), Iain Pyman, Marc Warren, Chapchai Nirat (Tha)
78 Michael Campbell (Nzl), Benn Barham, Alfredo Garcia-Heredia (Spa), Stuart Manley, Peter Hedblom (Swe), Anthony Snobeck (Fra), Jose Manuel Lara (Spa), Gary Lockerbie, Niklas Bruzelius (Swe), Rolf Muntz (Ned), Pontus Gad (Swe), Anders Larsson (Swe), Fabrizio Zanotti (Par), Michael Jonzon (Swe), Miles Tunnicliff
79 Ulrich Van Den Berg (Rsa), Anton Haig (Rsa), David Frost (Rsa), Oliver Fisher, Andrew McLardy (Rsa), Simon Wakefield, Alexandre Rocha (Bra), Felipe Aguilar (Chi), Andre Bossert (Swi), Michael Curtain (Aus), Nils Floren (Swe)
80 Mattias Nordqvist (Swe), Kalle Brink (Swe), Carlos Franco (Par), Carlos Rodiles (Spa)
81 Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia (Ind)
82 Carlos Del Moral (Spa), Roope Kakko (Fin)
83 Magnus Bruhn (Swe)
85 Bjorn Akesson (Swe)
DQ: 83 Magnus Bruhn (Swe)
Lee Westwood on strong US Open start: ‘This course is gettable if you hit the fairways’
Lee Westwood reflects on his impressive opening round at the 120th US Open.
US Open day one: Rory McIlroy off to fast start as Justin Thomas takes the lead
McIlroy shot an opening round three-under 67 while Thomas carded a five-under 65.
Rory McIlroy flying high after opening round of US Open at Winged Foot
The Northern Irishman is two shots behind leader Justin Thomas, who shot a five-under-par 65 at Winged Foot.
A little more relaxation brings a little more action for Rory McIlroy at US Open
The Northern Irishman shot 67 on the opening day to sit two behind clubhouse leader Justin Thomas.
Prayers answered for Rory McIlroy as US Open hopeful makes speedy start
The Northern Irishman is two shots off the lead after an opening 67 at Winged Foot.
WATCH: Tiger, Rory, Rahm and DJ on what makes Winged Foot so difficult
Golf’s big buns give their thoughts on the tough test that lies ahead at the US Open.
WATCH: Social media star pays tribute to Mickelson with special US Open song
Take a listen to the most heartfelt and emotional song about Phil Mickelson ever created.
All eyes on USGA when the 120th US Open gets under way at Winged Foot
The fact that last year’s championship took place without controversy over the set up of the course was a welcome relief for the organisation.