Stenson leads in Dubai, nears Euro money title
Saturday, November 16, 2013
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Henrik Stenson closed in on the European Tour money title Saturday, birdieing four of his last five holes for a 5-under 67 and one-shot lead after three rounds of the season-ending World Tour Championship.
The Swede was at 17-under 199 and is trying to become the first player to win the FedEx Cup and European title in the same year.
Victor Dubuisson of France, coming off a victory in Turkey for his first European Tour win, was in second place after a 64. England's Ian Poulter (66) and Spain's Alejandro Canizares (70) shared third place, another three shots back.
Stinson came into the tournament leading the Race of Dubai, although Poulter and Justin Rose are among the players who can still overtake him. Rose 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."
The points champion will receive $1 million from a $3.75 million bonus pool that counts on the final money list. In September, Stenson won the PGA Tour's season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta to take the FedEx Cup title and $10 million bonus.
After Dubuisson pulled even for the lead, Stenson made three straight birdies starting at the 14th hole and sank a tap-in birdie on the 18th. Dubuisson had waited 72 tournaments for his first tour victory and now is in contention 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," he 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. He then shot a final-day 62 only to lose to Rory McIlroy, who birdied his closing five holes.
Poulter, fourth in the Race to Dubai, needs to win the final event and for Stenson to finish outside the top three.
"I think if I shoot 65, it's going to be a good score," Poulter said. "I caught Henrik at one stage today and I'll catch him again tomorrow — don't worry about that."