Henrik Stenson is poised to make his LIV Golf move pay off after seizing a three-shot lead at Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey on Saturday.
Sweden’s Stenson is leading the chase for the $4-million first prize in the third event of the breakaway series.
The new circuit, spearheaded by Australian Greg Norman, has provoked the wrath of the established PGA and DP World Tours, which have sanctioned members who opt to chase purses totalling a whopping $25-million at each 54-hole, shotgun start event on the upstart tour.
Stenson has shaken off the controversy – including his stripping of Europe’s Ryder Cup captaincy – to shine in his LIV debut.
Tied for the lead with former Masters champion Patrick Reed after Friday’s first round, Stenson recovered from an early double-bogey to card a two-under-par 69 and build a nine-under par total heading into Sunday’s final round.
“I was hanging in there,” Stenson said, adding that he knew even warming up that he didn’t have his best stuff. “Had a rough start – loose tee shot on three and ended up making a scramble for double [bogey] on that one.”
He responded by rapping in a long eagle putt at the 8th, then after birdies at 10 and 13, he dropped a shot with a three-putt bogey at the 14th.
He made two “great birdies” at 16 and 17 before a poor layup led to a bogey at the last.
“That always stings, but I’m happy to shoot under par,” said Stenson, who was three shots clear of former world No 1 Dustin Johnson, who also carded a 69 to reach six under.
Reed, meanwhile, had five bogeys, an eagle and a birdie in his two-over 73 to head a group on five-under that also included Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz (70) and American Talor Gooch (64).
Charl Schwartzel is the highest-placed South African on three under (T9).
© Agence France-Presse
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