Stenson doesn't let late three-putt get him down

Henrik Stenson during Sunday's final round at the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The way Rory McIlroy is playing, anyone who hopes to beat him will need a tournament where bad bogeys don’t come into the mix.

Henrik Stenson made a good run at the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club, but one 3-foot putt late Sunday gave away one stroke he couldn’t afford to lose.

The 38-year-old Swede played the front nine in 5-under-par 30 Sunday, then added another birdie at the short par-4 13th. He hit his tee shot at the par-3 14th to 21 feet, but he lipped out a 3-footer putt for par and couldn’t make up for it, closing with four pars to eventually finish in a tie for third, two strokes behind McIlroy.

“The only really bad thing that happened to me was the par putt on 14,” said Stenson, who was third at the PGA Championship last year. “It was a good birdie putt down the hill, left to right, and I thought I had a great putt. It looked good for a long time but just went about 3 feet by. I put a bad stroke on the next one.

“After that it was a little bit of a saving effort, bringing it home.”

It was Stenson’s ninth top-10 in a major since 2008, but he concedes McIlroy is quickly starting to put some distance between himself and everyone else.

“He’s on a roll,” said Stenson. “He is the best player in the world and just playing phenomenal golf. He’s got the confidence. … He just keeps coming back and playing aggressive and good golf. So it’s just to take our hats off and give him the appreciation he deserves.”

Stenson ranked 13th in greens in regulation at Valhalla, ninth in putting and was a perfect 5-for-5 in sand saves.

“I gave it my best,” he said. “I’m happy with that. I was four shots back when we started today. It would have taken a back nine similar to my front nine, I guess, to pull it off. I just didn’t have it. I had one half of it, not two.

“You learn something every time and it was really the Friday (he shot 71) that put me too far behind in this championship. All in all, I’m happy with the way I played.”

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