Stenson inches closer to first major title
By Bernie D'Amato under PGA Championship


Henrik Stenson has been knocking on the door at major championships recently. His T3 at the 96th PGA Championship is his fourth top-5 in a major since last year. A lip out on 14, and a mud ball on 18 kept him from winning his first major at Valhalla, but don’t expect Stenson to remain major-less for long.

The 38-year-old from Sweden shot a five-under 30 on the front nine, and added a birdie on 13 to tie Fowler and Mickelson for the lead at 15-under.

Henrik said, “I got off to a great start, hit some great shots, hit some great putts. Made a bomb on 9 to make the turn 5‑under. I had the momentum going.”

He added, “The only really bad thing that happened to me was the par putt on 14. 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 three, three and a half feet by, and put a bad stroke on the next one. Missed that one.”

The reachable par-5 18th was Stenson’s last chance to catch McIlroy, but he hit his second shot into the gallery on the left. “It was a lot of mud on the right side of the ball. It’s hard to say what’s what. I don’t think I put the best swing on it either. I probably gave it a bit of a left turn.”

A par at the last gave Stenson a stellar 66, and the confidence to get the job done at a future major.

PGA Championship leader board.

–Bernie D’Amato