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Tuesday, 08 April 2014
Henrik Stenson   (Getty Images)
Henrik Stenson (Getty Images)

European Number One Henrik Stenson has the World Number One spot within his reach his week but needs to improve on his modest Masters record to have any chance of scaling golf's summit.

Stenson has a highest finish of joint 17th in eight visits to Augusta National, while he has three top-three finishes in the Open Championship and three-top six finishes in the US PGA Championship to his name.

But after becoming the first player to win the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai in the same season last year the 38 year old has every chance of becoming the first Swede to win a Major.

“I would be happy if I have a top ten this week,” said Stenson. "That is always a good week. But ultimately if you want to win, you’ve got to be a little higher up. I had two good chances last year at the Open Championship and the the US PGA, so if I can put myself in the mix again, then sooner or later you’ll get one of these.”

Speaking about his Masters record, Stenson added: "I think that's why I keep coming back and then feeling like I should do better, because it's a golf course I think that fits my game if I'm playing well.

"I don't feel like I've been here firing on all cylinders, really. The first couple of times you're here more to learn than maybe challenge for the best finishes.

"In 2009 I played really well but I putted poorly on the Saturday and that kind of put me out of the mix completely. But then I said to some of the Swedish media I feel like something good is around the corner anyway the way I'm playing and the Players Championship (victory) came about a couple of months later.

"A couple of years ago I was in the mix as well but I wasn't playing that good tee-to-green. But hopefully we learn from a couple of bad rounds and I can have my best Masters to date this year."

Stenson is one of three players who can replace the absent Tiger Woods as World Number One this week, with Jason Day needing to win and defending champion Adam Scott requiring joint third, with no more than one other player, or better.

Joint second or better, again with no more than one other player, would see Stenson claim top spot, but the former Ryder Cup player is more concerned about becoming the first male Swedish player to win a major title.

"If I have a chance to win, I'll be just focusing on that," he added. "The other thing would be a nice bonus that comes with it. I'm more concerned about winning tournaments than setting new records for myself on the rankings.

"But of course, when I pack up the clubs one day, to have been ranked number one in the world at some point, I guess it has a nice tone to it. I could live with that."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T1LANGER, BernhardGER-
T1BAE, Sang-moonKOR -
T1BOWDITCH, StevenAUS -
T1BRADLEY, KeeganUSA -
T1CASTRO, RobertoUSA -
T1CHOI, K JKOR -

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