Stenson in Familiar Position in Qatar


2005 Qatar MastersDOHA, Qatar -- Henrik Stenson has been here before. This time, he is hoping for a better result.
For the second straight year, Stenson holds the lead heading into the final round at the Qatar Masters. The Swede shot a 1-under 71 on Saturday and is ahead by one stroke at 11-under-par 205.
Last year, Stenson dropped three shots during a two-hole stretch to open the door for Ernie Els' victory. Stenson birdied three of his last four holes, but needed an eagle at 18 to force a playoff with Els. He didn't get it.
On Saturday, Stenson and the field battled the same windy conditions that players saw in the final round last year.
'You just have to play it one shot at a time and one hole at a time,' said Stenson, who has held at least a share of the lead after all three rounds at Doha Golf Club.
'It's tough for everybody and I guess we saw a few good scores out there today, but obviously it was a tough day. But under par is never bad.'
Stenson, who mixed three birdies with two bogeys Saturday, has held the third round lead four other times on the European Tour. He won two of those tournaments -- the 2001 Benson & Hedges International and The Heritage in 2004 -- for his only two titles.
At the inaugural Abu Dhabi Golf Championship last week, Stenson finished second by a stroke to Chris DiMarco.
Fellow Swede Niclas Fasth and England's Paul Broadhurst are tied for second place behind Stenson at 10-under-par 206. Broadhurst fired a 5-under 67 in the third round, while Fasth shot a 4-under 68. Richard Finch (71) and Ricardo Gonzalez (72) are one stroke further back in fourth place.
Els, who overcame a five-shot deficit on Sunday last year, will have to do more than that this time around. He is six strokes back in a tie for 12th place after a third-round, 3-under 69.
Stenson has been a steady force through three rounds. He held a one-shot lead overnight and moved to 12-under with consecutive birdies at the fifth and sixth holes.
A bogey at the eighth meant Stenson was minus-11 around the turn, but after six straight pars he got back to 12-under with a birdie at the 15th. Stenson then gave that stroke back when he three-putted for a bogey at the par-5 18th.
'[I'm] just disappointed over the last couple of holes, especially on 18 dropping a shot there,' said Stenson. 'Just disappointed at the moment, but tomorrow is a new day. We still have a one shot lead.'
There are 10 players within five strokes of Stenson's lead, including Nick Dougherty (73), Darren Fichardt (70), Robert Karlsson (69), Paul McGinley (70) and Graeme Storm (70), who share sixth place at 7-under.
Thomas Bjorn (71) is alone in 11th place at 6-under. Four players share 12th place with Els, one stroke further back.
World No. 2 Vijay Singh, who placed eighth at Abu Dhabi last week, isn't a factor. He shot a one-over 73 and is tied for 51st place at plus-one.
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - Qatar Masters
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  • Full Coverage - Qatar Masters