Stenson spurred on by Masters struggle

Henrik Stenson revealed he was angry with himself on the back nine before two late birdies put him within four shots of the lead heading into the weekend at the Masters Tournament.

The Swede has played at Augusta National every year since 2006 but had only shot seven rounds of 70 or lower coming into this week.

An opening 69 on Thursday gave him a solid base but he admitted he was frustrated during round two as he made a brilliant chip-in on the 11th only to give the shot straight back on the next as his play became uncharacteristically ragged.

A 28-foot birdie on the 14th stopped that and he made another gain on the penultimate hole to get to five under.

“It’s hard just staying patient normally but I was getting a little upset with myself not hitting the shots that I wanted,” he said. “I guess I gave myself a little kick in the butt there on 14 and that seemed to help because I finished with a couple of birdies coming in.

I gave myself a little kick in the butt there on 14 and that seemed to help – Henrik Stenson

“I managed my way around this course in a good way, didn’t make too many mistakes, even though I was a little frustrated with the way I hit the ball at times

“I didn’t feel like I brought the long game that I would like to have out there. I still kept it together and made some good par saves and some good putts. So all in all it’s a good score.

“It could be a grind tomorrow, tough weather conditions forecast and this golf course is not going to give you any more margins just because the weather is bad. So hopefully the game-plan we have and the knowledge we have can make us stay in the ball-game.”

Rory McIlroy will play alongside Stenson on Saturday but will start the day a shot behind him after a second-round 71.

The Northern Irishman knows what it is like to challenge at Augusta, having led going into the final day in 2011 and with top ten finishes the past four seasons.

The Green Jacket is the only Major Championship trophy missing from his collection and he hopes his experience can help him to the career grand slam on Sunday.

“I don’t have to go out there and make a birdie on every hole, especially not on this golf course and in these conditions, pars are okay,” he said.

“Sometimes pars might be a little bit boring and you might feel as if you want to get a little bit more out of your round but, as you look up the leaderboard and you’re still there around the lead – that’s taken a while for me to adjust to.

Golf is a game of making your misses not that bad and taking advantage of your good shots – Rory McIlroy

“I think whenever I first came out here on Tour, I thought all these guys birdied every hole and you just had to hit unbelievable shot after unbelievable shot and hole the putt afterwards. It’s not quite like that.

“Golf is a game of making your misses not that bad and taking advantage of your good shots. So far this week, I’ve been able to do that.

“I feel relaxed. I feel good. I’m constantly having a conversation with myself about staying in the present and just one shot at a time and all the cliché stuff that you hear about.

“But it’s true, that’s all I’m doing. I’m trying to get up there and hit the best shot that I can and, after that, I’ll go about what’s the best way to hit the next shot and the putt.”