Stenson happy despite third-round struggles

Joy Chakravarty 22:38 21/01/2017
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Reigning European No1 Henrik Stenson may have been frustrated by a couple of bad shots in the third round Saturday, but he was happy his game was progressing in the right direction after a month-long break.

Stenson shot a second consecutive one-under par 71 – which included a bogey from a terrible bunker shot on the par-3 12th and another on the 17th where he pushed his second shot from the middle of the fairway – but despite the mishaps, finds himself just three shots off the pace.

“It could have been a bit better finish today. Dropping one on 17 and not making a birdie on 18, I could have been in a great position coming into Sunday,” said Stenson.

“But I guess to some degree, we’re still at the races. Just got to play better tomorrow and make up more ground.

“It’s possible. We’ve seen that in the past. Game-wise, I thought I played my best round today. But I shaved the edges quite a few times with the putter and again, same as yesterday, I didn’t really get the scoring going.

“You know, in terms of competition, that’s not really what you want, but in terms of progress, I’m more happy with my ball-striking today than I was in round one.”

The Swede definitely knows what to do to ensure his cabinet finally gets the Falcon Trophy – the one silverware missing from the Desert Swing events.

“I know I’ve got to shoot in the mid 60s to have a chance, and that’s definitely doable. Just got to try to carry on,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dubai-based Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello endured a painful round, having pulled a back muscle while practicing in the driving range.

Starting the day one behind the leader, Cabrera-Bello finished with a two-over par 74 to drop to tied 17th place.

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