Henrik Stenson blew a chance at leading the Masters on his birthday after a horror ending to his opening round. Everything had been going perfectly for the Swede, who was celebrating his 36th birthday, when he suddenly came unstuck at the 18th, one of the toughest finishing holes in Major golf.
He ending up shooting a quadruple-bogey eight, to match the highest score ever recorded on the 465-yard hole, but this was not a record he wanted a part of.
Arnold Palmer is among the other six players to shoot eight on 18, but the four-time Masters champion was 70 years old at the time. "I don't think I've ever done that," said Stenson. "You make a little mistake and then you compound it with another one and it just keeps on snowballing. I got the snowman in the end."
Until the 18th, he had been enjoying his best round at Augusta. He made two eagles and a birdie on the front nine to reach the turn at five-under 31, one stroke off the tournament record. He traded two birdies for two bogeys on the back nine and stood on the 18th tee with a two-shot lead.
"I hit it way left off the tee, a low hook, and the ball was playable in the bushes," he said. "So I went in there and got a small gap and didn't manage to get it out, gets stuck, and then it's like in a pretty worn spot in the pine needles where everybody has walked, and carved it up the fairway."
After messing up his first three shots, Stenson slammed one of his clubs into the ground but finally got the chance to get back on the green only to sail his approach shot past and take three putts to finish off.