Stenson had four birdies to go along with three bogeys at Abu Dhabi Golf Club for a 1-under 71. He’s now at 9 under par, three back of midway leader Martin Kaymer.
Stenson entered the event with little practice under his belt. His previous event was the Hero World Challenge, in which he finished runner-up at the start of December. He didn’t arrive in Abu Dhabi until Tuesday, following a trip to Sweden, where he was honored as his country’s male athlete of the year.
The reigning Open champion birdied the first hole on Friday and turned in 2-under 34. But back-to-back bogeys to start his inward half were followed by six consecutive pars. He birdied the par-5 final hole to shoot under par.