ROCHESTER, New York, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Henrik Stenson fell short in his bid to become the first Swedish man to win one of golf’s elite titles at the PGA Championship on Sunday but takes comfort in rejuvenating a career he once considered quitting.
Stenson, whose game faltered to a point where he was unable to win his club championship in Sweden two years ago, finished alone in third place at the year’s final major, three shots behind winner Jason Dufner.
“It’s all written in the stars if it would have been a different scenario,” Stenson told reporters after carding an even-par 70 in Sunday’s final round.
“I‘m happy and proud of my performance. Didn’t play my absolute best today, that’s for sure. I was still giving it a good fight and I had an unbelievable round and some great tournaments in the last month.”
Stenson arrived at Oak Hill ranked 11th in the world and riding a wave of momentum after runner-up finishes in his last two starts - the British Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
But the 37-year-old’s sudden return to form has also drawn attention to how far his game tumbled, including his slide to 230th in the world rankings early last year.
That all must have seemed like a distant memory on Sunday as he started his round at seven under for the tournament, two shots off the pace and knowing he needed to likely reach double digits for a shot at major glory.
Stenson, a seven-times winner on the European Tour, had a shaky start with a bogey on his opening hole but looked set to make a move when he drained a curling 20-foot putt for eagle at the par-five fourth hole to get to eight under.
He offset a bogey with an eagle going into the turn and then reached nine under when he birdied the par-five 13th. But that was as close as he would get as two bogeys over his final five holes left him out of the hunt.
“Happy with my performance, I think I kept it together nicely. Made a bit of a charge,” said Stenson.
“I didn’t play my best today but I was still hanging in there. Made a great eagle on four and that kind of put me back in a good momentum again.”
With the lucrative PGA Tour’s FedExCup playoffs and a shot to finish atop the European Tour’s money list still up for grabs, Stenson heads into the tail end of the season riding high.
“I will take a lot of positives out of that, got a lot of big tournaments still this is year,” said Stenson. “Really excited, gonna work hard on my game.”