Stenson seeks win to boost Masters hopes

HOUSTON • Henrik Stenson posted the best score of the day, a six-under 66, to vault within a shot of the third-round lead at the Houston Open in Texas on Saturday.

The Swede, one of the best players not to have won a Major title, rolled in a 40-foot putt to save par at the final hole and join Americans Dustin Johnson (70) and Russell Henley (68) in a tie for third at the windy Golf Club of Houston.

American journeymen Jim Herman and Jamie Lovemark carded 67 and 70 respectively to head a crowded leader board at 11-under 205.

Stenson, winless on the PGA Tour since the 2013 Tour Championship, fired seven birdies and one bogey, but needed to get up-and-down to save par on the final three holes.

"That really keeps us in contention," he told PGA Tour Radio. "It was tough coming in. It was gusty conditions."

He has been more successful recently on the European Tour, winning the season-ending World Tour Championship in Dubai in 2013 and 2014.

A win here would provide a timely confidence boost heading to this week's Masters, where the world No. 7 will try to break his Major drought.

"I'm going to try once again to play a good final round and we'll see where that takes us," said the 39-year-old. "It's a really bunched-up leader board and I'm expecting the lead to change hands more than once tomorrow."

A fast start from Lovemark, 28, and a sturdy finish from the 38-year-old Herman pushed the pair of Americans into a share of the lead.

Herman birdied two of his final seven holes for his bogey-free round, while Lovemark made three straight birdies beginning at the second hole.

Neither has won on the PGA Tour and a victory here would earn a Masters invitation.

Overnight leader Charley Hoffman struggled with a 74 to slip three shots behind, while Masters champion Jordan Spieth (70) is five back.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2016, with the headline 'Stenson seeks win to boost Masters hopes'. Print Edition | Subscribe