Stenson seeks success for Sweden
Henrik Stenson hopes to become the first Swede to win a major after a good third round at St Andrews.
Henrik Stenson will attempt to strike a blow for male Swedish pride by claiming his first major title in the Open Championship at St Andrews on Sunday.
Stenson, Robert Karlsson, Per-Ulrik Johansson and Pierre Fulke have all enjoyed success for Europe in the Ryder Cup, but no Swedish man has won a major championship.
In contrast, four Swedish women have tasted such success – Annika Sorenstam winning 10 and Anna Nordqvist, Helen Alfredsson and Liselotte Neumann one each – while even Stenson’s caddie, Fanny Sunesson, has ‘won’ four herself.
Asked if the female players rub in their superiority after a third round of 67 moved him into contention, a relaxed Stenson joked: “All the time. All the sleepless nights, it’s been horrible, really. They seem so sweet on the surface, don’t they?”
The 34-year-old added: “It would obviously be a big bonus if I could win this tournament and be the first one out of Sweden to win it, but there will be a Swedish win on the male side in a major championship hopefully sooner rather than later.
“If it be me, that would be great, but I’m more concerned about doing my part of playing tomorrow and hopefully be one of the guys on the back nine that might have a chance.”
Speaking about Sunesson, who experienced considerable success working for Sir Nick Faldo, Stenson added: “I’ve had Fanny on the bag for three and a half years now. We’ve had some great success. I enjoy her company and she’s very experienced.
“She won four majors with Nick, so she knows what she’s doing. Even after all these years I’m not supposed to say that about a lady, but she’s very hard-working and dedicated, and she wants to win as badly as I do.”
Stenson’s biggest career win to date came at last year’s Players Championship, often labelled the ‘unofficial fifth major’, with a brilliant final round.
Starting the day five behind Germany’s Alex Cejka, Stenson carded a flawless 66 at Sawgrass – the only player without a bogey on his card all day – to win by four shots.
Soon after he reached a career-high fourth in the world rankings, but came into the week back in 33rd.
“Everybody is so nice to me. They’re all saying, ‘You haven’t quite been up to standard’, he added. “I’ve been playing really poorly this year. No point in trying to put that in cotton (hide that).
“I’ve had two top-10s in European Tour events, and that’s about it. Now obviously I’m striking it a bit better and my short game is better, too, and putting has been pretty solid all week.
“Although you probably shouldn’t be too confident about it because there’s one more day, I finally managed to find some of the lines on the greens here, which I’ve found very difficult in the past.”
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