Henrik Stenson’s prior appearances at the Wyndham Championship set the bar pretty low. He missed the cut in 2010 and 2011, followed by a flu-induced withdrawal in 2012.
But Stenson is a far different player these days, and that disparity was on full display Thursday when he shot a bogey-free 62 to sit alone in second place, one shot behind Matt Every.
“I guess my game is in slightly better shape than it has been some of the other times when I’ve shown up here,” Stenson told reporters. “Couple of the times where I’ve been here I haven’t been playing well at all. Certainly I felt like I would have a better chance this year to do myself justice on here, and I certainly got off to a good start.”
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Stenson has had a solid but unremarkable season, and he entered the week ranked No. 75 in the season-long points race. It meant that the Swede isn’t guaranteed a spot in the 70-man BMW Championship, so he added this event at the 11th hour to ensure that he’ll make the 15-start minimum needed to keep his PGA Tour card.
Stenson has four top-20 finishes in his last five starts, including a T-13 finish last week at the PGA Championship, but he’s also down to No. 9 in the world rankings – his lowest standing in more than two years. He birdied three of his first five holes and missed only two greens in regulation, putting him in position to challenge for his first win in the U.S. since the 2013 Tour Championship.
“I’ve always come here in kind of bad shape and having to add a tournament to try to get something going,” he said. “This is certainly the best that we started off here.”