Olympics: 'Crocodile' Stenson pokes at water hazard with bite, trails Rose by 1 shot after 3 rounds

Henrik Stenson hits a tee shot on the ninth hole during the third round of the men's Olympic golf competition, on Aug 13, 2016.
Henrik Stenson hits a tee shot on the ninth hole during the third round of the men's Olympic golf competition, on Aug 13, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Henrik Stenson has mastered the toughest layouts golf can offer, navigated sand traps and water hazards, but he took his course skills to a new level on Saturday by taking on a small crocodile.

The world No. 5 from Sweden, the highest-ranked player at the Olympics owing to withdrawals by the top four, took a poke at a caiman in a water hazard at the 10th hole in the third round of the Rio Olympics men's tournament.

Stenson was walking up the 10th fairway when he detoured to the edge of nearby water to view a caiman, the small reptilian creature common to the area that are a crocodile relative.

He decided to prod it with a lob wedge, aided by the fact it was facing away from him, before continuing his stroll.

"A little tickle with a lob wedge," Stenson said. "I thought it could handle that."

There is a full-sized crocodile in the area but so far he has decided not to become a prominent spectator at the first Olympic golf tournament in 112 years.

Still, it's not like the smaller ones lack bite.

"If it would have been twice the size, then you probably need to go into the longer irons," Stenson said. "He wasn't too big. He was facing the right way for me."

The Swede went on to birdie the par-five 10th and stands one stroke behind leader Justin Rose of Britain entering Sunday's final round.