Stenson on brink of huge payday
by DOUG FERGUSON firstname.lastname@example.org September 21, 2013 9:22PM
TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola - Round Three
Updated: October 23, 2013 6:50AM
ATLANTA — Stepping in from rain that ruined his rhythm and the back end of his round Saturday, Henrik Stenson was more interested in looking forward at the Tour Championship.
He still had a four-stroke lead. He was one round from capturing two trophies worth $11.44 million, including the FedEx Cup.
Stenson just made the final day of the PGA Tour season a little more interesting during the last two hours of his third round at East Lake. He had a nine-stroke 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 [trophies],’’ Stenson said after shooting a 1-under-par 69 for a 54-hole total of 11-under 199. ‘‘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. But everything changed as the rain began to fall. Stenson made four bogeys on the back nine, and it would have been worse if he hadn’t made a pair of 12-foot putts on the 14th for bogey and the 17th for par.
‘‘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 will be paired with Johnson in the final round Sunday. ‘‘Started the day with a four-shot lead, and I still got it. So that’s all that matters, really.’’
Johnson, who was the last player to make the 30-man field, matched the low round of the day with a 3-under 67 to get into the last group. Now he has a chance to start and end the season with a victory. Johnson’s only victory of the year came in the season-opening Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii.
‘‘If I keep driving it straight, then I’m going to give him a run tomorrow,’’ Johnson said.
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 and $1.44 million for winning the Tour Championship. Even if he were to finish third, he still would be in good shape to win the biggest payoff in golf.
Tiger Woods, the No. 1 seed, didn’t make a birdie until he chipped in on the 14th. He rallied to match Stenson’s 69 but was at 3-over 213, 14 shots behind and tied for 26th.