Golf

Swedes have 2 shots at first major championship

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PITTSFORD, New York (AP)

No chance you've heard this one before: Two Swedish guys go off in the next-to-last pairing in the final round of the PGA Championship and ...

One of them wins a major.

''We're definitely increasing the chances with having two guys up there rather than one,'' Henrik Stenson said.

''Or,'' he added a moment later, ''none.''

Hard to argue with that.

Stenson and Jonas Blixt will try to do something Sunday at Oak Hill that none of their countrymen has ever accomplished, although countrywoman Annika Sorenstam did it 10 times.

Stenson, who shot 69 in the third round and was at 7 under, will tee off two shots behind leader Jim Furyk. Blixt, who carded a 66 and might have locked up the shot-of-the-tournament title with his approach into No. 18, will start three behind.

Despite Saturday's bogey-free result, Blixt knows one thing in his pre-round routine that's definitely going to change.

''I drank coffee in the morning and got really jacked up,'' he recalled. ''No coffee tomorrow.''

You wouldn't know it by watching any Ingmar Bergman films, but some Swedes are funny. Stenson, for instance, famously stripped down to nothing but his skivvies and a golf glove in a tournament three years ago to play a shot from a water hazard. After the video went viral, he was asked a day later what the reaction had been.

''A lady in the crowd said if that's what watching golf is about, she's going to start watching a lot more,'' he deadpanned.

Blixt's adventure at the 18th had its comical element as well. His tee shot veered well left of the fairway, bounced and found the back pocket of a spectator named Muhammad Khokar. After Blixt arrived on the scene to find a crowd gathered around Khokar and was told what happened, his response - ''Did it plug?'' - cracked up the spectators.

After his round, Stenson also recounted in detail how just two years ago, in the middle of a career drought, he failed to qualify for the PGA and played in his club's two-man team championship back in Sweden instead.

''I was up in contention there, as well,'' he said. ''I didn't win.''

Both men did their best to tamp down speculation about what it would mean back home to have either win a major championship.

''That would be huge. I mean, it's a very small country,'' Blixt said. ''You set your goals high and that's a very high goal for both me and Henrik.''

Yet reporters kept asking, one even trying an emotional appeal to Blixt.

''Did something go through your heart when you saw how excited Adam (Scott) was to become the first Aussie to win a Masters?'' he asked.

''Well,'' Blixt replied with a hint of a smile, ''Adam doesn't really do it for me.''

---

Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org and follow him at http://twitter.com/JimLitke

Tagged: Jim Furyk, Jonas Blixt, Henrik Stenson

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