AKRON, Ohio – Continuing a stretch of solid play that has now crossed two continents, Henrik Stenson earned a place in the final pairing at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational thanks to a 3-under 67 in the third round at Firestone Country Club. Unfortunately for the Swede, a spot in the 2:05 p.m. ET group Sunday also comes with a seven-shot deficit to overnight leader Tiger Woods.
“I’m just going to try and play my game, and (I’m) excited to go out and play with him tomorrow,” explained Stenson, who closed his round Saturday with two birdies across his final three holes to move into second place. “It’ll be a good test, a good measurement. We might just be there for watching the final victory lap. We’ll see tomorrow.”
This week in Akron marks the third consecutive start in which Stenson has been near the top of the leaderboard against a world-class field, following his tie for third at the Scottish Open and his runner-up performance at the British Open. When asked to compare his game to that of the 54-hole leader, Stenson was quick to point to Woods’ performance on the putting surfaces at the South Course as the difference.
“I think he’s out-putted me by a whole lot,” said Stenson, who ranks 59th this week among the 73-man field in total putting. “I’m not sure Tee to Green if he’s been much better, but on the greens for sure.”
Faced with the tall task of derailing Woods’ quest for an eighth career title at Firestone Sunday, the Swede struggled to wrap his head around a feat that the top-ranked player in the world already accomplished earlier this year when he took home his eighth Arnold Palmer Invitational trophy.
“It’s kind of hard to imagine. I never won anywhere seven times before,” added Stenson. “He’s obviously very confident around this golf course, and he likes it. He just feels right at home.”