ATLANTA (AFP) ― Sweden’s Henrik Stenson fired a 1-under par 69 on Saturday to keep a four-stroke lead after the third round of the season-ending $8 million U.S. PGA Tour Championship.
If Stenson can keep his lead over the final 18 holes at East Lake on Sunday, he will claim the $10 million bonus for winning the tour’s playoff title, the FedEx Cup, as well as the tournament’s $1.44 million top prize.
“I don’t see myself being overly aggressive tomorrow,” Stenson said. “I think it’s kind of up to the other guys to be aggressive.”
With a chance to stretch his lead over the rest of the 30-man field on a rainy day, Stenson stumbled at the finish, making bogeys on three of the final five holes, including a four-foot par putt miss at the 18th, that left him on 11-under 199 after 54 holes.
American Dustin Johnson was second on 203 after a third-round 67 with U.S. veteran Steve Stricker third on 205 after shooting 68.
England’s Justin Rose, the reigning U.S. Open champion, shared fourth on 206 with Americans Zach Johnson, Billy Horschel and Jordan Spieth. England’s Luke Donald and American Nick Watney were another stroke adrift.
Stenson birdied the second and third holes and added two more at the seventh and ninth holes, stretching his edge over the field at one stage to nine strokes.
“To think you’re going to keep going like that, without any trouble, is probably asking for too much,” Stenson said.
The Swede began the back nine with a bogey, added another at 14 and followed a birdie at the par-5 15th with bogeys at 16 and 18.
“I guess at the end of the day, I got what I deserved,” Stenson said. “I probably deserved to drop one on 17. I lost one at 18 instead.”
Stenson and Zach Johnson were the only two in the title fight among five players who can win the playoff title by winning the tournament.
World number one Tiger Woods, the playoff points leader, fired a 69 to stay 26th on 213, one stroke behind U.S. compatriot Matt Kuchar, who was also in the top five in points.