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Stenson cool on Open chances

16 July 2017 National Sport


Last Updated: 16/07/17 5:09pm

Henrik Stenson in action at Dundonald Links on Sunday

Henrik Stenson in action at Dundonald Links on Sunday

Henrik Stenson played down his chances of retaining The Open title after closing with a four-under 68 at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.

The Swede’s form has been inconsistent both this week and in recent months but he ticked along nicely for the first 14 holes at Dundonald Links on Sunday with six birdies.

However, he finished on a low with bogeys at the 15th and 18th and admits he may struggle to follow up his success at Troon last year.

Asked if he could match Padraig Harrington in winning back-to-back Open titles at Royal Birkdale, the 41-year-old said: “I think we’re hoping for a lot in terms of what we saw this week.

“We certainly need to step that up quite a lot if we want to have anything to do with it next week. There’s always a chance and I’m going to enjoy the week. You never know, it might be the only time we’re defending champion at the Open Championship so I might as well enjoy it.

“Not feeling that you’re playing anywhere near 100 per cent, you can’t really put that pressure [on yourself] that you’re going to be up there and contend.

“Maybe we can turn things around a little bit but I’m looking forward to the week regardless.”

Stenson lifted the Claret Jug after repelling the challenge of Phil Mickelson at Troon last year

Stenson lifted the Claret Jug after repelling the challenge of Phil Mickelson at Troon last year

Stenson lifted the Claret Jug after repelling the challenge of Phil Mickelson at Troon last year

Stenson has missed the cut in both Majors so far this season and says his long game has been an issue for him.

“The long game hasn’t been in good shape for a long time and you can’t really work when you’re trying to perform,” he added.

“It’s always that battle and I don’t feel I have enough game to play the way I want to, and as soon as you go into practice mode you are losing the possibility to play your best.”

Watch The Open from July 20-23 live on Sky Sports – your home of golf.


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