Stenson calm on Masters hopes

Stenson comes into the first major of the year having finished fourth, fourth and second in his last three events, albeit having let slip a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

However, the Ryder Cup star’s hopes of claiming a maiden major title have been badly hit by a bout of the flu, which forced him to pull out of the Houston Open last week and spend several days in bed.

“My game was in good shape and had a bit of a spring break with the family and then got the flu,” Stenson said on Tuesday. “I’m getting better, slowly but surely. I was pretty much down and out there for four days.

“I’m just trying to conserve a bit of energy as the week progresses and hopefully have some left on the weekend when you need it the most and want it the most.

“It was better to be sick last week than this week because if I would have had what I had last week this week, I wouldn’t be here today. So it’s just to take the rough with the smooth and try to make the best out of it.

“The good thing is expectations are kind of out of the window. I was playing nicely, but now I’m just happy to be here and to be able to peg it up on Thursday and make the best out of it.

“Augusta will be here next year, I presume. Otherwise, we’ve got the US Open to try and work towards and hopefully not get the flu before that one. So I’m pretty chilled about it and just going to try my best.

Stenson is making his 10th straight appearance at Augusta, but has yet to record a top 10 finish with last year’s tie for 14th his best result.

“It’s the one major I have not managed to break the top 10, so that’s certainly something we are hoping for,” he said. “I feel like I should have done better, but it just didn’t happen. That’s why we’re here, trying to change it.

“If you’re not sharp on the greens this week, it’s going to shine through for sure, and I’ve had a few tournaments like that in the past. And I feel like I’ve come in here without a great game a lot of times. This is not the place to try and find it.”

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