Scandinavians swing into spotlight

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Swede May AFP Swede Henrik Stenson has a chance of becoming world No 1 as play gets underway at Wentworth on Sunday. Photo: Glyn Kirk

Wentworth – Two Scandinavians were the centre of attention as the final round of the European PGA Championship got underway at Wentworth on Sunday.

Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn was aiming to strike a blow for the over-40s by claiming his 16th European title while Swede Henrik Stenson was in with a chance of becoming world number one by the end of the weekend.

Bjorn held a five-shot lead, on 15-under par, over playing partner Luke Donald as he teed off last seeking his second win of the season and looking to become the second multiple winner of the season after 50-year old Miguel Angel Jimenez.

The 43-year old Bjorn had six birdies in a row on the third day to take control of the championship and a win would virtually seal his place in the European Ryder Cup team for the match against the US at Gleneagles in September.

Bjorn has not played in the biennial contest since 2002, but has been vice-captain on three occasions since.

He was also seeking the first wire-to-wire win on the Tour in a tournament he has dominated since his course record 62 on the opening day.

Stenson, who started his round in a tie for 7th on six-under par, was looking to complete a remarkable rise from 230th to first in the world.

Stenson needs to have a better finish here than Adam Scott manages in the Colonial Invitational in Texas where the current number one was in joint tenth place after a third-round 66.

Scott has only been number one for a week but if Stenson does outperform him the Swede will overtake him and Tiger Woods to become the first world number one from his country.

At number three in the world he is the highest-ranked Swedish male player ever.

Donald – who has won this title twice – put himself in contention with a flawless third round 68 whilst Irishman Shane Lowry was still in with a shout at nine-under par.

Of the earlier starters Scotland’s Marc Warren had three birdies in his first eight holes to join Stenson on six-under par alongside Germany’s Marcel Siem who was two-under for the day after five.

Frenchman Romain Wattel was the early leader in the clubhouse on two-under par after a 68 but it would take a series of unlikely collapses for him to be involved in the finish on Sunday evening.

None of Europe’s big names had made a significant move even in the best conditions of the week with Justin Rose and Ian Poulter both on the course on two-under and Lee Westwood a shot further back. – Sapa-AFP


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