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On the bubble: Stenson on cusp of Masters invitation

Henrik Stenson
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PEBBLE BEACH, CA - JUNE 17: Amateur Bennett Blakeman hits a bunker shot on the ninth hole during the first round of the 110th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 17, 2010 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)  - 

HUMBLE, Texas – Henrik Stenson really wants to get back into the Masters for the eighth straight year. Not just for all the obvious reasons, either.

He wants to go because he’s playing better golf than he was going into any of those other appearances.

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“To be honest, I’ve gone there not really playing good golf,” he said. “The way I’m playing now, I feel I’m playing better than any other time when I went to Augusta, so it would be a shame not to go when I’m in an upward trend in my game.”

Stenson’s chances are in a precarious position right now. Likely needing a finish of 13th place or better to receive an invitation at week’s end as one of the top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking, he is just two strokes off the Shell Houston Open lead entering the final round. But with such a logjammed leaderboard, he also finds himself in a nine-way tie for seventh place.

He knows, though, that worrying about it won’t clinch the exemption.

“I can’t let wishes to go stand in the way of what it takes to get there, so I’m trying not to focus on it,” he explained. “But if I keep playing the way I am, I’ll be back in the top 50 in the world in due time. We’ve got a lot of other big tournaments coming up, too.”