ABU DHABI // Henrik Stenson remains in contention to win the Falcon Trophy for the first time, even though he has already withdrawn from this week’s Qatar Masters due to injury.
With eight holes still to play of his third round, after the tournament was disrupted by fog for a second successive day, Stenson is one shot behind the leaders on 9-under.
The Swede is playing his first tournament since undergoing surgery to repair a meniscus problem in his right knee during the winter break.
The stop-start nature of the play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, with early starts in the cool of the morning, have caused him discomfort.
The world No 5 had a 4.45am alarm call before he had to finish off Round 2, then had a lengthy wait between the end of that round and going off in the third-to-last match.
“It has been a struggle,” Stenson, 39, said. “Not so much for the knee. It’s getting a bit swollen from playing golf and walking but the foot is taking a lot of strain. So I feel like I’ve done about a thousand toe-ups.”
A former resident of The Meadows in Dubai, Stenson is well versed in what it takes to win on the Desert Swing.
The titles he has won in the Middle East, which includes the DP World Tour Championship twice, the Dubai Desert Classic and the Qatar Masters, account for four of his nine wins on the European Tour.
Stenson has opted to forego the trip to Doha, to play in the tournament he won in 2006, in order to continue his recuperation.
“I’ve decided to not push that any further and take a rest for next week,” said Stenson, who has finished second twice in Abu Dhabi but has yet to win the title.
“I’m trying to make the most out of these last two rounds. Unfortunately, I have pulled out of Qatar and get some rest and rehab and hopefully we can push on from there.”
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