Stenson battling bronchitis in Masters
Henrik Stenson endured one of his toughest rounds yet at Augusta National on Thursday. Foto: Christer Höglund

Stenson battling bronchitis in Masters

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA. Henrik Stenson fought hard to come in with an opening round 73 in the Masters. He will continue play only if he manages to avoid an overnight fever. – To climb those Augusta hills with bronchitis isn't much fun, Stenson says to Svensk Golf.

World number two Henrik Stenson arrived at Augusta National late Sunday night to prepare for his tenth straight Masters Tournament. He did not fly in from Houston though, last week's PGA Tour stop, which was originally planned.

A heavy case of the flu had Stenson knocked out in bed for several days during the week prior to The Masters.

– It was like being down for the count and pulling myself up first following smelling salts on the count of nine, Stenson, jokingly depicts his recovery, speaking to Svensk Golf.

Stenson has been clear that his main goal this season is the majors.

– I feel it's the only thing missing on my resumé, he says.

But having coughed his way through an opening 73 alongside Jordan Spieth and Billy Horschel on Thursday in the sweltering Augusta heat, reaching highs of 91 degrees with humidity levels reaching the 50 per cent mark, Stenson left the ground straight away to speak with his physician.

– I have consulted my doctor. The warmth and humidity soaked up all energy that was left already during the pre-round practice, Stenson says to Svensk Golf later on Thursday evening.

The medical verdict is bronchitis and Stenson admits he was about to call it quits and pull out before even hitting his first tee shot.

– To climb those Augusta hills with bronchitis isn't much fun, he says with his usual smirk.

Despite the struggles and an opening which saw Stenson at four over through twelve, the Swede showed stamina fighting back with three straight birdies on 13 through 15 and finishing off holing a slippery, downhill seven-footer for par on 18 for a 73.

– Henrik has been under the weather significantly, so he battled it out today, Jordan Spieth, Stenson's playing partner said in his press conference.

But Stenson is still hopefull he will be able to join overnight leader Spieth, who fired a spectacular 64 in the opening round, and be strong enough to maybe make up a few shots on the 21 year-old Texan.

– As long as I don't catch a fever overnight I will try again tomorrow, Stenson says.

With similar temperatures forecasted for Friday it will take more Swedish grit to give the rolling hills of Augusta National another go tomorrow.

But Stenson seems to have plenty.