Henrik hunts big game in Africa
Updated: 2016-11-10 06:54
By Reuters in Sun City,South Africa(China Daily)
British Open champ Stenson out to increase Race to Dubai lead
British Open champion Henrik Stenson believes money-list rival and Masters champ Danny Willett will push him to the limit in this week's $7 million Nedbank Challenge, the penultimate event of the European Tour season.
Stenson holds a commanding lead of 252,163 points over the second-place Englishman and will secure a second order of merit title in four years if he wins in South Africa and Willett finishes outside the top 10.
Any other result and the race to end the season on top of the pile will continue at the $8 million DP World Tour Championship in Dubai next week.
Stenson missed last week's Turkish Airlines Open and the out-of-form Willett spurned the chance to close the gap by finishing in a tie for 68th place.
"I've had a really good year and it would be nice to finish off by being Europe's No 1," Stenson told a media conference at the Gary Player Country Club on Tuesday.
"I'm sure Danny's going to try to find some game over the last couple of weeks and push me to the limit."
Third-placed Rory McIlroy, who has opted not to play this week, will hope his money list ambitions are still intact when he returns in Dubai.
Stenson, though, would cap a dream year if he ended up as Europe's No 1.
"It was kind of the final piece of the puzzle," he said in reference to his Open win at Troon in July.
"It's still so fresh that you get reminded about it so much but you want to move on and focus on what's on in the future."
The Nedbank event starts on Thursday.
DJ heading to Abu Dhabi
Meanwhile, US Open champion Dustin Johnson will make a rare foray on the European Tour when he plays at the Abu Dhabi Championship in January.
The world No 3 will join second-ranked Rory McIlroy, No 4 Stenson and 10th-ranked Rickie Fowler in competing for the Falcon Trophy.
"I'm really looking forward to it and pleased to have the opportunity to play in Abu Dhabi," Johnson said on Tuesday.
"I've never been there, but I've heard really good things about the golf course from Rickie and Rory."
Johnson's fellow American Fowler will be the defending champion at the Jan 19-22 event.
"Abu Dhabi was a high point for my season, along with competing in the Olympic Games and being on the winning USA Ryder Cup team," Fowler said.
"Coming out on top against the strongest field on the European Tour was as good a start as anyone could aspire to."
Over the past seven years, Abu Dhabi has attracted Tiger Woods (twice), Phil Mickelson (twice) Fowler, Jason Dufner and Anthony Kim.
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson in action during the WGCHSBC Champions Golf Tournament in Shanghai last month. Aly Song / Reuters
(China Daily 11/10/2016 page22)
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