x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Stenson hopes to emulate Scott feat

Henrik Stenson roared back to his brilliant best yesterday to raise hopes of securing a second Commercialbank Qatar Masters title.

Henrik Stenson was at his best once again yesterday.
Henrik Stenson was at his best once again yesterday.

DOHA // Henrik Stenson roared back to his brilliant best yesterday to raise hopes of securing a second Commercialbank Qatar Masters title, although he feels he will require what he described as "an Adam Scott performance" on the final afternoon. Twelve months ago Stenson was on the receiving end of a blistering closing burst by Scott, the leading Australian who annihilated the Doha course to post an exceptional score of 61 and romp three strokes clear of runner-up Stenson.

Today the Swede will be seeking to do the same to the flamboyant Spaniard Alvaro Quiros whom he trails by four strokes after 54 of the 72 holes. Stenson, though delighted with his return to form after the ignominy of missing the cut in Abu Dhabi last week, reckons he should be even closer to Quiros who posted the day's best score of 64 to overtake the clear second-round leader Louis Oosthuizen who is now in second place, one shot behind.

He went close with a putt for an eagle two on 16 after near misses at the previous two holes and then failed to make what he thought was a good birdie opportunity at the last. "I had chances on all of the last five holes but only picked up two shots when it could have been six," lamented Stenson after his round of 66, "So I felt like I left a few shots out there. But that's OK if I make up for those misses tomorrow."

He refused to dwell on the negatives, however. "That was the best I have played throughout the last week or so," he said. "So it's definitely a step in the right direction." If Stenson fails to catch Quiros and Oosthuizen today, he will look back on a poor performance on Friday when he managed only level par. "That was a bit of a struggle," he admitted. "But my other two rounds have been good and I'm definitely up there. Anything can happen."

Stenson, who won this tournament in 2006 and has been runner-up twice, is hoping his considerable experience over nine visits to Doha plays a significant part today. "I know the course inside out and that is always going to help," he said. Stenson will go out in the penultimate pairing today with Holland's Maarten Lafeber, who also posted a third-round score of 66. Lafeber did most of his damage on the front nine and picked up three birdies in a row approaching the turn. He claimed seven in all but slipped up at the short 17th.

@Email:wjohnson@thenational.ae