In a rather scary manner, Henrik Stenson was once again reminded how loved he is in the city that was his home for almost one decade.
On a day when his radar-guided irons were malfunctioning, the Race to Dubai leader endured a frightening moment when his tee shot on the 13th hole veered right and long, and smashed into the forehead of a lady spectator.
Even as the paramedics attended her on the golf course, she kept a brave face and told the onlookers and a concerned Stenson that he was her “favourite golfer in the world”.
“I didn’t expect her to say that after being hit. It was a very unfortunate circumstance,” said Stenson, who posted a battling round of three-under par 69 to be tied 17th at three-under par going into the weekend.
“I flared my 5-iron right and I’m standing there thinking, is it going in the bunker or flying over the bunker, and next thing, I see it go into the crowd and hit someone. It was actually a mis-hit up into the wind and it went further than the pin number, so I think something was quirky there.
“Unfortunately, I hit the lady and she went down. But I had some reports later in the round that she was doing okay. Of course, you get shocked when you get hit like that and it’s painful. I’m just making sure that we’re going to get her details so I can send her something nice.”
Stenson was saved time and again by his putter, including making two crucial par saves on the 13th and 14th holes from more than 20 feet. That helped him stay in touch with his rivals for the European No1 crown.
At the halfway stage, the Race to Dubai No2 Danny Willett added a 70 to be tied alongside Stenson, while compatriot Alex Noren, who is ranked third, was only one ahead.
“I’m definitely not playing great, but I had some more chances today and the putter was behaving a lot better than yesterday. So yeah, made some really nice putts out there and made a few for birdies. It was definitely the putter that kept it together today,” said Stenson.
“It’s a bit of a grind, but I’m hanging in there and fighting hard. I know the guys are going to come at me. I know it’s going to be a long weekend and they are going to keep on pushing me. So I’m just trying to do my best.”
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