East Lothian, Scotland (Sports Network) - There are plenty of big names atop
the leaderboard at the 142nd British Open Championship, but one of those names
is easily overlooked.
Henrik Stenson at one time climbed as high as fourth in the world golf
rankings. However, he had fallen well down those rankings in recent years,
before starting a steady climb back up those ranking in the middle of 2012.
The Swede ran off three straight top-10 finishes last June and July on the
European Tour, then won a late-season event in South Africa. This season, he
has made the cut in 16 of 18 events.
He was runner-up at the Houston Open and shared fifth at the Players
Championship. Stenson shared 18th at the Masters and 21st at the U.S. Open.
Those top-25 finishes came after he didn't play the previous three majors. The
share of 18th at Augusta was his best finish in his last seven majors played.
Between 2008-10, Stenson posted five top-10 finishes in the majors. He shared
third at the Open Championship in 2008 and 2010 for his best finish in the
This week, he is showing the form he had during that stretch.
"I was hanging in there, made five birdies, which is good, and I was in deep
trouble on the sixth hole and I managed to get away with a double bogey. I was
in the thick hay on the left, hit a poor tee ball, and was stuck behind the 8-
ball," Stenson explained. "I was hacking it back and forth over the fairway
two times, and had to do a good 2-putt for 6. But bounced back with solid
birdies on seven and nine. I kept on battling my way in and finished strong
the last three holes with a birdie and two pars."
MIXED RESULTS FOR TOP PLAYERS
World No. 1 Tiger Woods is tied for second place as he goes for a fourth
claret jug. But his contemporaries in the top 10 in the world rankings are not
having as a good a week.
World No. 4 and Masters winner Adam Scott is four strokes off the pace and
tied for 11th, alongside Scottish Open winner Phil Mickelson, the world No. 5.
No. 7 Graeme McDowell, who played with Woods for the first two rounds, is tied
for 34th place at plus-4, while Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker, the sixth and
eighth ranked players in the world, are one stroke back at 5-over 147.
Rory McIlroy, the second-ranked player in the world, missed the cut, as did
No. 3 and U.S. Open winner Justin Rose and world No. 9 Luke Donald.
With that, you can expect big changes when the new rankings come out on
* After the first round, there were 20 players in red figures. Through two
rounds, there are only nine players under par.
* No player in the final 29 groups broke par after 11 players in the first 23
groups posted scores in red figures.
* There were 17 rounds in the 80s on Friday.
* The par-4 15th was the hardest hole for the second straight day as it
averaged 4.58 strokes. Through two rounds, the 15th was the most difficult
hole as players have averaged 4.40 strokes.
* The par-5 ninth was the easiest in round two as players averaged 4.51 shots.
The fifth has also been the easiest over the first two rounds, as players have
needed only 4.76 shots on average.
The Sports Network