Henrik Stenson looks on bright side as DP World Tour Championship hopes hit

Published: Friday 20th November 2015 by The News Editor

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Henrik Stenson was able to look on the bright side after conceding his chances of a third straight victory in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai were over, despite a remarkable second round.

Stenson slumped to an opening 77 at Jumeirah Golf Estates, his worst score in 21 rounds in the European Tour’s season finale, to lie joint last and initially carried on where he left off on Friday.

A bogey on the first was followed by a thinned bunker shot resulting in a double bogey at the third and another dropped shot on the fifth, leaving the world number six propping up the 60-man field on nine over par.

However, Stenson then birdied the seventh and eighth to reach the turn in 38 and started the back nine with four birdies in a row from the 10th, before picking up another shot on the 17th to card a 69.

“We just tried to be finished very quickly so we could go and see the family that I haven’t seen in a month,” Stenson joked. “It was all tactics really, to shoot a bad score yesterday, be out first this morning and then I can spend the afternoon at the Atlantis with the kids.”

Stenson admitted he was lacking mental focus at the end of a long year which will finally come to an end in South Africa in a fortnight, before the 39-year-old undergoes a minor knee operation in December.

“I’ve still got one tournament to go so we’ll try and leave with one or two positive things in terms of my game,” the Ryder Cup star added.

“My putting was better today, there we some highlights with the striking too so we’ll try and finish with some good scores and hopefully we can start off next season in two week’s time with a good tournament in South Africa and then we pack it in for the year.

” The course is much softer than we’ve seen before unfortunately in terms of what I prefer. I would have liked the greens a lot firmer because with these ridges, to be able to feed them to the holes you need a little bit of firmness on the greens.

” On my own state of mind, it hasn’t really been to where it needs to perform at my highest level. I can’t blame any physical (problems), it’s more the soft parts in the body that’s not really where they need to be.

” You have to have your mind in the right place if you’re going to compete with the best and it hasn’t really been there.”

At three over par, Stenson was nine shots off the lead shared by Alexander Noren, M artin Kaymer, Ian Poulter, Marcus Fraser and Andy Sullivan, with Noren joining the overnight leaders on six under thanks to five birdies in the first six holes.

South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel set the early clubhouse target on eight under par thanks to a flawless 65, the former Masters champion enjoying a one-shot lead over Justin Rose and Bernd Wiesberger.

Wiesberger, who topped his opening tee shot on Thursday into a bush to start with a double bogey, had also recorded a bogey-free 65, while Rose – who is one of seven players who could win the Race to Dubai – added a 66 to his opening 71.

“I’m obviously anticipating being four, five (shots) back potentially, but at least that’s not eight or nine,” said Rose, who needs to finish second to have a chance of overtaking current Race to Dubai leader Rory McIlroy.

“If you’re four or five back, you still feel like you’re in it. Whoever wins the tournament is going to have to play great golf over the weekend but at least I’m in a position where great golf will get rewarded.”

McIlroy has a lead of just 1,613 points over Danny Willett in the battle to become European number one and the pair, who both shot 68 on Thursday, remained locked together on five under after covering the front nine in 35.

Published: Friday 20th November 2015 by The News Editor

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