Golf

Henrik Stenson unhappy with state of China Open course

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Stenson is four shots off the lead after day one (©GettyImages)
Stenson is four shots off the lead after day one (©GettyImages).

It’s fair to say that Henrik Stenson is not particularly enjoying his golf at the moment.

After giving his all to fight off flu to even be able to tee off on the opening day of the Volvo China Open, he now isn’t happy with the course that he is having to play around.

Stenson had his preparation for the tournament disrupted by illness, which left him debilitated and bed-ridden 36 hours before the event started, and he had to withdraw from the Pro-Am which took place yesterday as a result.

As such, his round of one-under par 71, which left him four-shots behind the joint-leaders Simon Dyson and Alvaro Quiros, doesn’t appear to be too bad. However, Stenson feels that if the course was set-up better, he would be in an even more advantageous position.

He said to Golf365.com: “It's not easy to play a golf course blind, and it definitely costs a couple of shots when you haven't seen it, or haven't played it," the 38-year-old said.

"You get some horrific lies when you're missing fairways or greens.

"I took a (bogey) six on 13 by just being off the green - you can't even get the ball hardly on the green to save par.

"I think it's a course that when the rough gets that silly in certain areas, it kind of takes away a lot of skill.

"You don't have to hit it particularly well to hold the greens either. It's pretty slow.

“All in all it played pretty tricky - for myself at least."

The world number three went into the tournament as the favourite to win the event, and his performance on the opening day means that he still has a decent opportunity to do so come Sunday, although Stenson admits that he still isn’t feeling 100%.

"There was no improvement, unfortunately, from yesterday," he said. "The body doesn't feel great, the stomach is upset... I'm not throwing up but I'm not too keen on eating and my energy levels aren't the best."

The Swede has recently stated that he wishes to capitalise on Tiger Woods’ absence and take his number one ranking off of him, but he would have been hoping for a better start in China, to follow on from the bright showing that saw him claim a tied 14th spot at The Masters, last fortnight.

It could have been so much better for him, too. The Swede made five birdies during his round, but four bogeys in the final ten holes did the damage to his scorecard and meant that he will now have to make up ground over the next three days if he is to victorious.

The 38-year-old is currently in tied 38th position and has a clutch of talented players in-front of him, which includes Ian Poulter, who is on three-under-par following his open day score of 69.

It wasn’t a good day for another of the higher profile players in China, though. Nicolas Colsaerts was relatively fancied to be in with a chance of winning the competition, but he appears out of contention already, at five-over-par, and the Belgian will have a fight on his hands if he is to even make the cut now.

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Ian Poulter
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