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Friday, 19 March 2010

Twelve months after being frustrated by the weather in Portugal, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and his partner, Carl Pettersson, are in pole position to claim the WGC-Barbados World Cup at Sandy Lane Resort. The Swedes go into the final round of foursomes on 197, 16 under par, holding a one stroke lead over Argentina with Scotland a further shot away in third.

Last year Stenson, partnered by Niclas Fasth, had to settle for a share of second place in the Algarve after the final round was washed out, leaving Wales with the spoils of victory. Now, with the sun-kissed Caribbean Island expecting a another day of glorious sunshine, Stenson is relishing the chance to battle it out for the prestigious title.

A round of 63, eight under par, in the fourballs, saw the Swedes overtake Argentina’s Angel Cabrera and Andres Romero, who at one point drew five shots clear of the field. However Sweden played the back nine in five under par and Scotland four under compared to Argentina’s solitary birdie to set up the prospect of a titanic final day.

Stenson, who has already been a member of winning teams in the Royal Trophy and The Ryder Cup this year, is keen to complete the set in 2006 and said: “We were disappointed last year that we didn’t get to play for it in the last round. This time we will so we’re looking forward to a good foursomes result and hopefully be at the top of the leaderboard at the end.”

Pettersson, a winner on the US PGA Tour and now resident in the United States, admitted he didn’t pay any attention to Argentina’s rise and fall during the day. He said: “We didn’t really look. We were just trying to grind it out and we knew we had to shoot low. On the back nine we really got it going.”

The Argentine pairing shot 68 to finish on 198, 15 under par with Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie and Marc Warren signing for a 65 and a total of 199. The turning point, according to both Argentinians, was the eighth, where they both made bogey to lose momentum.

“That was the turning point” said Romero. “After that we had a lot of chances but just couldn’t get it going. Still, we are close enough, just one stroke off the lead and that’s not much going into the foursomes. One thing is for sure – we are going to fight for the cup”.

Montgomerie, who finished second with Raymond Russell nine years ago, played like a man inspired and drew a resigned shrug from Warren, who said: “It was pointless me playing today! Colin was awesome and the experience of playing alongside him has been awesome too. When you are in contention, that’s when you learn most, so I’m looking forward to the last round.”

Defending champions Wales produced the low round of the week, a nine under par 62, to climb into a share of fourth place alongside the United States and Italy’s Emanuele Canonica and Francesco Molinari. Out in 32 with an eagle at the sixth, the Welsh suddenly caught fire and closed with five straight birdies.

“I honestly don’t know where that came from” said Bradley Dredge. “Not a lot was happening, then Steven holed from 25 feet on the 14th and we took every chance that was going after that. We still need a brilliant day tomorrow – something like 61 in the foursomes – so we will just have to take care of our own game and do our best.”

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