Stenson talks 5th green after opening 69
Thursday, June 12, 2014
PINEHURST, N.C. – If asked to identify the U.S. Open quote of the week so far, your correspondent would look no further than Henrik Stenson's quip after an opening 69.
"If you guys want to see some disasters," Stenson told a crowd of reporters, "you should get a hot dog, Snickers and Coke and head down to 5 green."
Yes, the green at the fifth is a bit diabolical. Your duffer here recalls hitting a chip toward the hole years ago, only to see the ball make a 90-degree turn and roll left and down a slope and into a bunker.
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That kind of stunning stuff hardly surprises Stenson, the funny Swede. On Thursday morning, he hit what he called a "lovely 3-iron" shot into the par 5 and couldn't be faulted for posing.
"At one point," he said, "it was about 15 feet away for eagle."
Except the phrase at one point means nothing on the hump-backed greens of Pinehurst No. 2, particularly on the wicked putting surface at the fifth. What matters is where the ball happens to end up.
In Stenson's case, his approach rolled into a bunker. You might say his patience was tested.
"Now I've got an extremely difficult bunker shot from about 25 yards up the hill," he said.
Fortunately for him, he blasted to about a foot from the hole and got out with a birdie. He walked off knowing he was lucky.
"If it goes another foot, it's off the green on the other side," Stenson said. "That green, you're just happy if you get it to stay on the surface. It's as tricky and hard as it gets."