Sweden’s Henrik Stenson returned to the fray in The Heritage at Woburn Golf and Country Club taking the third round lead with a five under par 67.
Stenson, out of sorts with his game since bursting onto the scene in 2001, leads by a stroke from compatriot Patrik Sjoland, who carded a 68.
Former Challenge Tour number one Stenson claimed the Benson & Hedges International Open in 2001 but instead of using that as a launch pad his career nosedived.
“I was struggling really bad in 2001 and the whole of 2002 really. I had swing problems and after a while you get mental problems. My confidence was really gone for a long time. I managed to get it back at the end of last year and I have been playing probably the steadiest I have played on the four years I have been out here,” said Stenson.
The Swede finished second in the Scandinavian Masters in August suggesting his game was on the mend and he has backed that up this week. He has been working with Pete Cowen since 2001.
“I will just try and keep to my plan tomorrow and hopefully execute shots and play my way around the golf course like I did for the first three days and hopefully it will be enough,” added Stenson, who won three times in the Challenge Tour in 2001.
The 28 year old fired an eagle, five birdies and made one double. He missed a 12 footer for eagle on the par five 18th and leads the event on 13 under par.
Sjoland, paired with Stenson, has also been working his way back from a quiet spell and is looking forward to playing in the final group with his compatriot.
“Playing with Henrik was good, we both played nicely and it will be fun again tomorrow, the only difference will be that it is in the final group,” said Sjoland.
Sjoland has won twice on The European Tour before, the last time was in the 2000 Murphy’s Irish Open.
“I said to Peter Hedblom when I played a practice round here on Tuesday, this is a course which really suits me and I don’t really need to play great around here to get chances. I know if I can keep the ball in play and not make any stupid mistakes then I can shoot three or four under every day and hopefully I can keep that going tomorrow,” added Sjoland.
Englishman Simon Wakefield returned a 67 and is two behind Stenson, while Finland’s Mikko Ilonen is a stroke further back.
“It has certainly come at a good time for me as I have only got a few tournaments left to make my card. I am not in the top 115. I need to make some money before the end of the season,” said Ilonen.
Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, leader after the opening two rounds fell back with a 72 and is nine under for the tournament.
“Not the sort of day I had planned when I went out but that is golf sometimes isn’t it. I got off to a funny start and could not get into it,” said McDowell.
South Africa’s Retief Goosen, currently second on the Volvo Order of Merit, climbed up the through the field with a 67 to lie on seven under.