Ian Poulter hasn’t had much luck chasing down Henrik Stenson in the Race to Dubai so far, but the Englishman is full of bravado as he heads into Sunday and his last chance to catch Stenson.
Four shots down going into the final round of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, Poulter had a message for Stenson after Saturday’s third round.
“Don’t look back,” Poulter said after shooting 66.
Nobody has won the FedEx Cup and the Race to Dubai in the same season. In fact, nobody has won them both, period. Stenson is trying to become the first after winning the FedEx Cup in September. He shot 67 Saturday in Dubai to stake himself to a one-shot lead over Victor Dubuisson (64). Poulter is tied for third with Alejandro Canizares (70).
If Poulter comes from behind to win the DP World Tour Championship, Stenson will have to finish no lower than second to claim the Race to Dubai title.
“The odds would be significantly shorter now, and I have put myself in position to try to kick his backside tomorrow,” Poulter told media after his round. “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 No. 1 would be a huge highlight in my career.”
Poulter and Stenson are friends who both make their homes in Lake Nona, Fla. They have engaged in some lively banter in the Final Series. They have a $100 wager on the Race to Dubai’s final outcome with Stenson giving Poulter 10-to-1 odds before the Final Series began.
Justin Rose (68) isn’t out of it, but he will need a giant Sunday charge from six shots back. Rose is second in the Race to Dubai standings. If Rose wins the DP World Tour Championship, he also wins the Race to Dubai, no matter what Stenson does.
Rose said Stenson won’t be easy to catch because the Swede is such a good frontrunner.
“It's when Henrik is not in contention that he seems to get frustrated and not know what to do,” Rose was quoted saying by Great Britian's Guardian newspaper. “So it's the opposite here. He is very comfortable. He is in a groove.”
Stenson led the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour after 54 holes in September and held on to win to also claim the FedEx Cup. He likes being in control atop a leaderboard.
“They are the ones that need to overtake me, so I am trying to stick to my game plan,” Stenson said. “It's working so far, so I don't see any point changing.”