Stenson leads Tour Championship
Stepping in from rain that ruined his rhythm and the back end of his round, Henrik Stenson was more interested in looking forward at the Tour Championship.
He still had a four-shot lead.
He was one round from capturing two trophies worth $11.44 million, including the FedEx Cup.
The Swede just made the final day of the PGA Tour season a little more interesting over the last two hours of a dreary Saturday morning at East Lake. He had a nine-shot lead at the turn and walked off the 18th green with a three-putt bogey and his lead back to where it was at the start of the day.
“Of course, I want to win two,” Stenson said after a 1-under 69. “If I can’t win two, I’ll be very pleased to win one. If I’m winning nothing, it will probably be not so sweet from this position. But I didn’t have anything when I came here, so we’ll see what we’ll leave with.”
Stenson appeared to have both wrapped up when he got up-and-down from a bunker on the par-5 ninth for a tap-in birdie to reach 14 under, nine shots clear of Dustin Johnson. Everything changed as the rain began to fall.
Stenson made four bogeys on the back nine, it might have been worse if not for a pair of 12-foot putts he made on the 14th hole for bogey and the 17th hole for par. Johnson was five shots better on the back for a 67, matching the low round of a tough day for scoring and got into the last group.
“I think I’ll choose to look at it from the bright side, even though the weather is not that bright at the moment,” said Stenson, who was at 11-under 199. “Started the day with a four-shot lead and I still got it. So that’s all that matters really.”
Johnson and Steve Stricker, who had a 68 and was at 5-under 205, were the only players within six shots of him.
Johnson was the last man into the 30-man field at East Lake, and he left Chicago on Monday not sure whether he would get in. Now he at least has a shot to start and end the season with a victory. Johnson’s other win this year was at Kapalua in the Tournament of Champions.
“If I keep driving it straight, then I’m going to give him a run tomorrow.”
Stenson, the No. 2 seed in the FedEx Cup, is still in great shape to go home with a lot of money — $10 million for winning the FedEx Cup, $1.44 million for winning the Tour Championship. Even if he were to finish third, he still would be in good shape to win golf’s biggest payoff.
Tiger Woods, the No. 1 seed, didn’t make a birdie until he chipped in on the 14th hole. He rallied for a 69, the first time he has broken par all week. Woods was at 3-over 213, 14 shots behind in a tie for 26th.