AUGUSTA, Ga. – For two days last April, Henrik Stenson had an up close snapshot of what it takes to win the Masters.
He watched Jordan Spieth pick apart Augusta National with an opening 64 for an early three-shot lead, and then add a second-round 66 to extend that advantage to five strokes on his way to a record-setting victory.
On a course that by most accounts demands respect and patience, Spieth aggressively challenged pins and putts on his way to history, and Stenson noticed.
“That takes some golfing to beat 28 birdies around here,” the Swede said on Monday. “That kind of put me in that direction; that I need to play a bit more aggressive.”
For last year’s final round at the Masters, Stenson adopted Spieth’s approach with surprising results. He shot a closing 68, his lowest card in 34 tournament trips around Augusta National to tie for 19th place.
Part of that aggressiveness for Stenson, who normally hits more 3-woods than drivers in a round, was off the tee; a course change he intends to continue this week.
“This is definitely a golf course where I will air the driver more than a regular week, I'd say,” he said.