Stenson keeps 1-shot lead after 3rd round in Dubai
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Henrik Stenson birdied four of his last five holes for a 5-under 67 Saturday to maintain a one-shot lead after the third round of the season-ending World Tour Championship and close in on the European money title.
The Swede struggled earlier in the round, allowing Victor Dubuisson of France to catch up to him, but made three straight birdies from the 14th hole and then sank a tap-in birdie on the last for a 17-under total of 199.
Dubuisson is coming off his first European Tour victory at the Turkish Airlines Open and shot a 64 to sit alone in second place.
England’s Ian Poulter (66) and Spain’s Alejandro Canizares (70) shared third place, another three shots back.
Stenson is trying to become the first player to win the FedEx Cup and European money title in the same year. He came into the tournament leading the Race of Dubai, although Poulter is among the players who can still overtake him. So is Justin Rose, who was six shots back after a 68.
“There’s no point in getting ahead of myself as there’s still one more day to go and I have to give it my best,” Stenson said. “Victor is playing incredible golf at the moment. I heard the expression that I was the hottest golfer in the world, but he’s just jumped up and grabbed that title these last two weeks. So I’m just going to go out there and try to play another solid round.”
Dubuisson had waited 72 tournaments for his first tour victory and now the Cannes-born Frenchman is in position for a second.
“I play very well now because I’ve been practicing a lot, but my energy levels are down and it’s been difficult on a few holes today, especially near the end of my round,” Dubuisson said. “But I will do my best tomorrow and tonight I will try to get to sleep early to have a good night and feel good for tomorrow.”
Rose was in a similar situation last year, trailing by six shots after the third round, and came out to post a final-day 62 only to lose to Rory McIlroy, who birdied his closing five holes to deny the Englishman.
Poulter, who is fourth on the Race to Dubai, needs to win the final event of the season and for Stenson to finish outside the top three.
“I just need to beat Henrik, and while there’s a couple of others on the board, I think if I shoot 65, it’s going to be a good score,” Poulter said. “I caught Hernik at one stage today and I’ll catch him again tomorrow, don’t worry about that.”