PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) - Henrik Stenson has closed with a 70 in two straight majors, steady performances under pressure.
Problem is, someone else was making a bunch of birdies.
The 37-year-old Swede finished third at the PGA Championship, three weeks after he was the runner-up at the British Open.
At Muirfield last month, it was Phil Mickelson’s brilliant final round, and Stenson was three strokes back. This week at Oak Hill, it was an unflappable Jason Dufner with a 68 on Sunday, and Stenson again was three shots behind the winner.
Oh, and in between he tied for second at the Bridgestone Invitational when Tiger Woods ran away with a seven-stroke victory.
After winning The Players Championship in 2009, Stenson struggled through three tough years hampered by illness and injury. But the way he’s playing now, maybe Sweden will final get its first major men’s champion.
The country had two chances Sunday, with Stenson and Jonas Blixt playing in the next-to-last group. Stenson started the day at 7 under, two strokes behind 54-hole leader Jim Furyk and one back of Dufner.
Blixt, who came in at 6 under, also shot a 70 to finish fourth.
After bogeying the first hole, Stenson curved in a long eagle putt at No. 4 to move to 8 under, a stroke out of the lead. He knew he had to make birdies, but he just couldn’t get enough of them.
“I thought I needed to get to double figures, that’s for sure,” Stenson said.
He was right. Dufner won at 10 under.
Stenson’s chances all but ended with some bad luck on the par-4 14th. His tee shot landed in the rough short of the green _ in a divot. He chunked his wedge into a bunker and went on to bogey the hole.
“It’s all written in the stars if it would have been a different scenario,” Stenson said. “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.”