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Stenson Leads PGA Tour Championship as Woods Stumbles to Finish

Golfer Henrik Stenson
Golfer Henrik Stenson of Sweden watches his tee shot on the fifth hole during the third round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 21, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photographer: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Henrik Stenson holds a four-shot lead at 10 under par entering today’s third round of the Tour Championship, the final event of the U.S. PGA Tour’s playoffs.

The winner of the 30-player, season-ending tournament at Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club receives $1.4 million. A victory for any player in the top five of the FedEx Cup standings would secure a $10 million bonus.

Stenson, who is second in the standings behind Tiger Woods, had five birdies and a bogey for a second-round 66. His two-round 130 total ties his career low for 36 holes. Stenson is four shots ahead of Adam Scott, the Masters Tournament winner from Australia. Scott shot 1-under 69 yesterday after beginning the second round one shot behind Stenson.

“The way I look at it, if I’m ahead they have more work to do than I do to catch up,” Stenson told reporters. “Four shots during two rounds is not enough. I’m just going to try to do the best I can for the next two days and hopefully that’s good enough.”

Stenson played yesterday’s round with 13 clubs, one below the maximum allowed, after noticing a crack in the face of his 4-wood before teeing off.

“It worked out fine without it,” Stenson told reporters after the round.

If Stenson had left the broken club in his bag, it would have been at least a two-stroke penalty for carrying a “non-conforming” club. If he had used it to hit a shot, he would have been disqualified.

Stenson said he was questioned by rules officials following the round after a television viewer called in to ask if Stenson had kept the club in his bag.

Tired Woods

Tiger Woods, a two-time winner of the points competition, played his final five holes yesterday in 6 over par after being 5 under through his first 13. He’s 4 over for the tournament.

“I’m tired,” Woods told reporters before slowly walking to his car in the players’ parking lot. “It’s just been a long grind.”

Woods ended his round with a double bogey on the 14th hole, a bogey on the 16th and a triple bogey on the 17th, where he hit his tee shot into water on the left side of the fairway.

“My legs were just tired,” he said of that shot. “I didn’t rotate through the ball and I turned it over.”

Woods’s 3-over-par 73 in the first round was the first time he failed to make a birdie in a professional round since the start of the 2010 U.S. Open and only the seventh time in his professional career. He birdied the third hole yesterday to end the streak at 21 holes.

“It was nice to finally make a birdie,” he said.

Last Place

Woods, the points leader coming into the event, is three shots out of last place in a tournament he has won twice and finished as runner-up four times.

Scott, who won the playoff-opening Barclays event in New Jersey last month, is third in the points standings, followed by BMW Championship winner Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar, both Americans.

Scott is one shot ahead of Jordan Spieth after rounds of 65 and 69, and two in front of U.S. Open winner Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and Billy Horschel.

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