Winning Ways: Stenson/Vancsik
Golf365 reveals the secrets of success for this week’s winners Henrik Stenson and Daniel Vancsik.
Henrik Stenson – Players’ Championship Winner
In The Bag
Driver – Callaway FT3
Fairway wood – Callaway Big Bertha
Utility – Titleist PT585
Irons – Srixon I-506
Wedges – Callaway X Tour
Putter – Yes! Golf Donna
Ball – Srixon Z-UR
On Sunday Stenson blew the field away with a stunning exhibition of golf played under the highest pressure on a course running fast and tricky. “It almost looked like you were playing a different course from everybody else,” a journalist said to him afterwards. “No, it was still Sawgrass, I can promise you,” Stenson replied.
Curiously the tournament stats don’t reveal the extent to which he trumped the opposition. Everything was good enough to leave him ranked first for All-round Game, but nothing stood out – his only top ten ranking stat was for Scrambling.
As he said himself: “I just managed my game very well. I’m very happy with how I handled my mental game this week. I controlled myself as well as I’ve ever done.”
A little bit of final round Love
When Davis Love III shot a final round 64 to win the 2003 Players’ Championship many observers considered it to be the greatest 18 holes ever played around the TPC Stadium course at Sawgrass. Stenson’s final round of 66 may not have been quite as remarkable as that effort, but it wasn’t far off and it was, like Love’s round, entirely bogey-free.
Unlike his tournament stats, his final round stats were magnificent: he hit 13 of 14 fairways from the tee, 14 of 18 greens in regulation, never once failed to scramble for par when he did miss the greens and struck only 27 putts.
Of the players placed in the top twenty after the third round only Jim Furyk and Stenson broke 70. Furyk played brilliantly to shoot 69; the Swede was nothing less than sensational when bettering that by three shots.
Perfect for the 3-wood
Stenson has often stated that his favourite club is his 3-wood. He is a huge hitter, but the longer fairway wood offers him more control than his driver and he enjoys playing courses that allow him to use it frequently from the tee.
This week Sawgrass was one of those courses: “I hit a lot of 3-woods around here to put the ball in play,” he explained. “It kind of comes in handy on quite a few holes were I can shape it right to left.”
As if he needed to, he re-emphasised that he liked the Pete Dye-designed layout: “I like the design and it obviously fits my eye pretty good. It’s a golf course I feel happy playing.”
Daniel Vancsik – Italian Open Champion
In The Bag
Driver – Ping G5
Utility – Mizuno MP Fli-Hi 18
Fairway wood – Mizuno MX-700 & Diamana White 83X
Irons – Mizuno MP-62
Wedges – Mizuno T Series Black NI
Putter – Odyssey Black Series
Ball – Titleist ProV1x
The long and the short
Three years ago I stood on the 11th tee at The Belfry and watched Andres Romero and Daniel Vancsik hit enormous drives down the fairway. I motioned to Vancsik’s caddie. “Is he good?” I asked. “He is very beeeg,” he smiled knowingly. “Muchos, muchos beeeg.”
Since then Vancsik has proved as much, regularly smashing the ball beyond 300 yards and ranking in the top ten for Driving Distance at the end of each of the last three years.
This week he also added a strong game plan, some quality short irons and a hot putter to the awesome length to blitz the field by six shots.
Return from injury
2007 was the Argentine’s breakthrough year on the main tour – he won the Madeira Islands Open early in the season and then twice came close to a second win in the Open de Madrid and Portugal Masters.
Just as he seemed destined to emulate the long term success of his countrymen Angel Cabrera and Andres Romero, however, a shoulder injury intervened and until last week he hadn’t made the top twenty on the European Tour since this time last year.
But he was seventh in Cordoba last month and then rediscovered his putting boots at the Open de Espana before completing this comeback victory in stunning style.
Green jacket inspiration
The Argentinean golfers are a proud and loyal bunch who feed off any success enjoyed by their compatriots. They travel around Europe together, always offering moral support, often providing financial support to struggling players and caddies.
This spirit means that when one of the group prospers, the others feed off it and Vancsik revealed that Angel Cabrera’s win at Augusta had done just that.
“I stayed with Cabrera on the Tuesday after he won (the Masters),” he said. “And we had a lot to talk about. He’s helped my career and he’s a man I look up to. But it’s not just me. He’s won two majors now and it is good for Argentine players. We all think that perhaps now we can do it now as well.”
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