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Masters 2012: Henrik Stenson and Early Leaders That Are Guaranteed to Fade

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 05:  Henrik Stenson of Sweden reacts after sinking his putt on the second hole during the first round of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 5, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2012

The first day of The Masters is under way and while there is certainly going to be a ton of movement on the leaderboard between now and the end of the tournament, the early leaders are already getting plenty of attention.

Some of the initial contenders may remain in the hunt for the whole tourney, but others will inevitably sputter.

It's tough to say for sure which golfers will land in which category, but it's fun to speculate anyway. Overall body of work and recent play are a couple of factors to look at when trying to make an educated guess, but you never know when a golfer might come from out of nowhere to be a major player for the green jacket.

Here are three players that are atop the leaderboard early, but will ultimately fade into oblivion as the tournament progresses.

 

Henrik Stenson

Swede Henrik Stenson has gotten off to a rousing start and paces the field at three-under par through seven holes. Although Stenson has plenty of talent, he is the definition of a streaky player as he can easily go from looking like one of the best golfers in the world to one of the worst on tour in the blink of an eye.

In order to win The Masters consistency is a must, and Stenson just doesn't have it.

Stenson also lacks a good track record in majors as he has often struggled to make the cut at big events in recent years. Also, his best career finish at The Masters is a mere tie for 17th place, so Augusta hasn't been overly kind to him. Stenson seems like the kind of player that can dominate in short stints, but he won't be able to hold up over the long haul.

 

Padraig Harrington

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 04:  Padraig Harrington of Ireland hits a tee shot shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 4, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Ima
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Padraig Harrington is a three-time major champion and was the co-winner of The Masters Par 3 Contest on Wednesday, so he entered the tournament with a lot going for him. He has parlayed that into a good start as he is one-under par through 10 holes.

Harrington's early success is a bit surprising to me since I didn't like his chances heading into the tournament, and I believe he will ultimately be derailed.

The Irishman is now 40 years old and he certainly isn't the player he once was. Paddy is a savvy competitor who is capable of hanging around, but save for the Par 3 Contest, he hasn't played too well recently.

Harrington has finished over par in two of his past four tournaments and has finished outside the top 40 in three of his last four outings. I get the feeling that Harrington is playing off the high of winning the Par 3 Contest currently, but will eventually fall back in the field.

 

Paul Lawrie

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 09:  Paul Lawrie of Scotland hits his tee shot on the fifth hole during the second round of the 2012 World Golf Championships Cadillac Championship at Doral Golf Resort And Spa on March 9, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

For the past decade, Paul Lawrie has been an anonymous player on the PGA Tour. Way back in 1999 the Scotsman won the British Open in a tournament that will always be remembered for Christian van de Velde choking away a three-shot lead on the final hole. Lawrie hasn't won a PGA tournament since then, and he suffered nine-year drought on the European Tour between 2002 and 2011.

Lawrie is tied atop the leaderboard with Stenson at three-under par through 15 holes and seems likely to end the day among the leaders. It will certainly make for a great story for about a day, but Lawrie doesn't have the tools to remain in contention for four rounds. It's nice to see Lawrie back on the map, but it will unfortunately be short lived.

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