Henrik Stenson turned 36 on Thursday, and a very obvious birthday wish almost came true in the first round of the Masters. The Swede led the first major of the year for 17 holes before a snowman sent him tumbling down the leaderboard.
After two inches of early-week rain, Augusta National was the perfect birthday gift for Stenson. A generally hard and fast course was softer and more receptive Thursday, allowing Stenson to take full advantage early in the day. His bogey-free 31 on the front nine included two eagles, on the par-5 second and eighth holes.
Stenson continued his assault at the National with a birdie on the difficult par-4 10th hole to move to 6 under and firmly take the lead. Even a bogey on the 14th hole was erased quickly with a birdie on the par-5 15th to move Stenson back to 6 under. Still, Stenson's downfall came on the back nine, as he couldn't reproduce the magic he had on the front.
"After 11, I didn't hit one fairway off the tee," Stenson...