STENSON'S SURGE REINED IN BY ROYAL GREENS' TOUGH STRETCH
KING ABDULLA ECONOMIC CITY, Saudi Arabia: Henrik Stenson was pleased with his effort on a tough opening round of LIV Golf Jeddah presented by ROSHN as he closed the day on 1-under 69 to be tied 14th in the field.
The Majesticks GC Co-Captain was right up there on the leaderboard at 3-under through his first 11 holes, but dropped three shots from the ninth to the 13th hole of Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, which is one of the most demanding stretches of the course.
With Lee Westwood and Sam Horsfield contributing even-par rounds, the Majesticks were in 10th place at 1-under par. Ian Poulter finished on 2-over 72.
Stenson, who started the day on the 16th hole, said: “I think I probably started on the worst hole on the golf course because of the conditions and in terms of the toughness. I had some trouble on the 18th (par-5) and ended up making a bogey.
“Nine through the 15th is probably the toughest stretch to finish on this course. So, of course, I would have liked not to drop one or two shots coming in, but at the same time, I feel like you almost expect to drop a shot or two coming home on that stretch.
“If you ask me, the 9th hole is probably the best place to start. You get through the tough stretch early and before the wind starts pumping.”
Stenson, who spent several years living in Dubai, said the heat was intense, but he was pleased how his game held up.
“I thought I played well. I have played many times in places like Singapore and Thailand, which are quite hot and humid, but someone showed me his phone on the course that it felt like 44 degree Celsius out there,” said Stenson, who won in LIV Golf League in his debut event last year in Bedminster.
“I had a couple of bad breaks and it would have been nice to finish maybe one shot better, but I was pretty pleased with the round.”
Stenson is 23rd in the Individual Standings with 55 points.