Stenson edges closer to Tour title

Henrik Stenson carded a five-under par 67 to claim a one-stroke advantage after the third round of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

Stenson is looking to become the player to win both the FedEx Cup and the Race to Dubai in the same season, and the Swede is on target to clinch both titles after another imperious performance on Saturday.

The Swede entered September’s Tour Championship as one of five possible players that could win the FedEx Cup by winning the tournament, and the whole tournament to win the title in emphatic fashion.

The world number four entered this week in a similar situation, with three players still capable of winning the Tour title.

Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell could still deny Stenson with a victory on Sunday, but both carded 68s to finish the third off the pace on 11-under and eight-under, as opposed to Stenson’s 54-hole score of 199 – 17-under par.

One stroke behind Stenson is France’s Victor Dubuisson, whose 64 included 11 birdies at Jumeirah Golf Estates, one short of the European Tour Record.

Another player who could stop Stenson from winning the Harry Vardon Trophy is Ian Poulter, who is tied for third place on 13-under – alongside Alejandro Canizares – after both players carded 70s on Saturday.

Should Poulter win in Dubai this weekend, Stenson would need to finish second in order to win the title.

At one stage, Poulter had drawn level with Stenson, who had an overnight lead of four shots, but the Swede birdied four of his last five holes to regain his position atop the leaderboard.

“I caught him today and I’ll catch him tomorrow, it’s whether or not I can keep hold of him,” Poulter told the European Tour’s official website after the round.

“The odds would be significantly shorter now and I have put myself in position to try to kick his backside tomorrow,” Poulter added.

“It’s fun hunting Henrik and if I can get off to a decent start it’s going to be great on the back nine.

“Being European Number One would be a huge highlight in my career.”

Stenson admitted after his round that he is aware that he doesn’t have to win on Sunday to win the Tour title, instead he is just focusing on his own game rather than thinking of all the different permutations.

“I am trying to avoid all that,” the 37 year old said.

“I know I can win The Race to Dubai even if I don’t win here, but why not try my hardest to win this tournament? If I do I know that both trophies are coming home with me.

“It’s a great achievement to be the one who wins the most money throughout the year and I would love to emulate Robert [Karlsson, Sweden’s other winner].
The guys are going to try their best to attack but if anything it makes me try even harder.

“They are the ones that need to overtake me so I am trying to stick to my game plan. It’s working so far so I don’t see any point changing.”