Sten­son eyes Race to Dubai glory to cap great year

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Bri­tish Open cham­pion Hen­rik Sten­son said yes­ter­day he was fit, re­freshed and would turn a good year into a great one if he could cap it by win­ning the Race to Dubai.

Swe­den’s Sten­son has been both­ered by what he terms “a small re-tear” in the menis­cus of his right knee re­cently. But the world num­ber five said it would not ham­per his ef­forts to win one of the sea­son’s re­main­ing big prizes, start­ing with this week’s World Golf Cham­pi­onships-HSBC Cham­pi­ons tour­na­ment in Shang­hai. “Yeah it’s pretty good. It was hold­ing up pretty good through­out the Ry­der Cup where I played five games,” Sten­son told AFP Tues­day about his trou­ble­some knee.

“I had some rest be­fore and rehab. I hope I don’t have to go through another surgery but time will tell.” The Olympic sil­ver medal­list, who won his first ma­jor this year at Troon, was speak­ing on the side­lines of the launch event for the $9.5 mil­lion WGC-HSBC Cham­pi­ons at the plush Jumeirah Hi­malayas Ho­tel in down­town Shang­hai. Sten­son lies sec­ond in the Euro­pean Tour’s Race to Dubai stand­ings, 412,728 points be­hind leader Danny Wil­lett.

Rory McIl­roy is third, a fur­ther 643,243 points be­hind Sten­son. Masters cham­pion Wil­lett has a healthy lead but there are more than a mil­lion rank­ing points avail­able to the win­ner in Shang­hai. “I need to get on a good run, I’ve got some ground to make up but there’s some big purses these last four weeks and I can be chal­leng­ing for the num­ber one spot,” Sten­son said.

Sten­son was also suf­fer­ing on ac­count of his knee when he ar­rived in Shang­hai a year ago, but bat­tled to fin­ish tied for 11th along­side McIl­roy. It was the Swede’s best ever fin­ish in the tour­na­ment which is co-sanc­tioned by the US PGA, Euro­pean and Asian Tours. Dubbed “Asia’s Ma­jor” the WGC-HSBC Cham­pi­ons this year fea­tures eight of the world’s top play­ers and 40 of the top 50.

“It’s a great course,” said Sten­son of the 7,261-yard She­shan In­ter­na­tional Golf Course lay­out.

“I re­ally like the golf course and the event has gone from strength to strength. Now we’ve got all the best play­ers in the world here,” he added. “It’s a very pres­ti­gious event and I would love to throw my name in there Sun­day af­ter­noon and have a chance to get that tro­phy. “I have three tour events left here, South Africa and Dubai.

“I can make a re­ally, re­ally good year into an even bet­ter one, a great one, with the Race to Dubai and, hope­fully, another title or so be­fore the sea­son is over.” — AFP

CHASKA: In this Oct 2, 2016, file photo, United States’ Pa­trick Reed re­acts af­ter win­ning the fifth hole dur­ing a sin­gles match at the Ry­der Cup golf tour­na­ment, at Hazel­tine Na­tional Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. Amer­i­can golfers are trav­el­ing more than ever, and the 26-year-old Reed is tak­ing that to an ex­treme. He has played 66 tour­na­ments in the last 24 months (in­clud­ing the Pres­i­dents Cup and Ry­der Cup), and as a long and tir­ing 2016 starts to wind down, Reed is just get­ting warmed up. —AP

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