Stenson aims to change Masters luck

April 8, 2012 AUGUSTA—Henrik Stenson shoots from the #1 fairway to short of the green Sunday afternoon. Shots from the 2012 Masters final round Easter Sunday April 8, 2012. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com
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April 8, 2012 AUGUSTA—Henrik Stenson shoots from the #1 fairway to short of the green Sunday afternoon. Shots from the 2012 Masters final round Easter Sunday April 8, 2012. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Henrik Stenson knows why he has struggled in his 11 previous appearances in the Masters.

But don't expect him to tell you why, despite 16 wins around the world, including last year's British Open, he has never finished higher than tied for 14th at Augusta National.

“I’m not going to bore you with all those thoughts,” he said.

He did share some ideas.

A famously straight driver – a problem most would love to have – he said he needs to be able to shape shots better off the tee, particularly on the 530-yard par-5 13th.

“If I could get another 20 off the tee and try and get around the corner a little bit more on that one, that would be lovely,” he said. “It’s certainly a more inviting second shot into that par 5 with a 6‑iron than a 4‑iron off that side slope.”

He also said practicing putting on the ultra-quick and undulating greens the field will face this week has also been a priority.

“The boys did a good job for me down at Lake Nona and speeded up the greens about a week, ten days ago,” he said. “We’ve put a little bit extra practice in on that.

“Hopefully all those things will come together and we can be a little bit better off than we have been in the past.”

It is odd that Stenson hasn’t had a better finish than his highest posted in 2014.

Since his first Masters in 2006, he has ranged from 4th to 55th in fairways hit, fourth to 53rd in driving distance, fifth to the 27th in greens hit and 16th to 49th in numbers of putt.

It seems he just can’t put all the key stats together at the same time enough to score.

The year (2015) he ranked in fourth in fairways hit, he was 53rd in driving distance. While he was fifth in greens hit, he was 42nd in putts per round. In 2009, he was ninth in greens hit, but failed to take advantage because he was 47th in putts per round.

“I guess that the previous couple of tournaments, I just haven’t performed the way I would have liked to, which is negative in terms of building some momentum and confidence out on the golf course,” he said. “But at the same time, I’ve been working trying to find that form and hit my shots better and putt better and everything else.

“Hopefully I can still put it together this week. I feel like it’s not too far away and I’m certainly no worse off this year than I’ve been any other year coming in here. Yeah, that’s why we’re here. We’ve got four days to figure out where we stand.”