Stenson senses threat of Noren as he makes final push

Joy Chakravarty 22:54 19/11/2016
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Henrik Stenson turned around his round in remarkable fashion to ensure he retains the advantage in the Race to Dubai going into the final day of the season, but the Swede was far from happy with his battling effort.

Having started the third round at three-under par, the two-time DP World Tour Championship winner was three-over par for the round after 11 holes and slipping back in alarming fashion.

But the world No4, who won the tournament in 2013 with a record score of 25-under par, then closed with five birdies in the last seven holes, and that included a par on the par-5 18th hole.

A two-under par 70 round took his tally in the tournament to five-under par and tied 22nd place. Among the three players who had the mathematical chance of overtaking him, closest rival Danny Willett was almost out of the race after a disastrous round of four-over par 76, while defending champion Rory McIlroy was tied alongside him.

The only danger for Stenson now is his compatriot Alex Noren, who added a 69 and is tied 13th at seven-under par.

Almost 600,000 points behind Stenson in the Race to Dubai, Noren will have to go really low on the final day today, something that he is extremely capable of. Only last week in the Nedbank Challenge tournament in South Africa, Noren stunned the field with a sensational nine-under par 63 final round that turned a six-shot deficit at the start of the day into a six-shot winning margin.

Stenson is mindful of Noren and said: “I didn’t get off to a great start. I was three-over par after ten. But I came back quite nicely.

“Yeah, I turned it around at least and I’ve got to be pretty pleased with the way we managed to play on the way home.

I’ve just got to go out and try to play a solid round tomorrow. I know if Alex finishes second on his own, I’ve got to be inside the top eight, so that’s kind of the scenario that I’m trying to achieve. Obviously, it will be very difficult for me to be second on my own in case he were to win.

“I’ve just got to keep at it and try and play a good round tomorrow, just finish off the week.”

Stenson said the turnaround yesterday came after he became angry with himself on messing a chip shot on the par-5 14th hole.

“I did not hit it close and I got angry. Sometimes, I think becoming angry is good. I made a long putt on that hole and then made some putts coming in. At least we are still in the race, and still in the driver’s seat,” he added.

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