Stenson looks out of sight in Race to Dubai

Manchester United's Michael Carrick and tennis star Caroline Wozniacki watch  Rory McIlroy during the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Picture: Ross Kinnaird

You can put away the binoculars as Henrik Stenson streaks away to almost certain 2013 Race to Dubai success.

The Swede opened-up a one-shot-lead with an eight under par 64 on the second day of the DP World Tour Championship but in the bigger picture, Stenson is now five shots clear of nearest European No. 1 rival Justin Rose (67) sharing fifth on seven under par.

Graeme McDowell posted a 68 to move to four under but slipped a dozen strokes behind Stenson.

And Stenson, who is yet to win on the European Tour this year, has thrown another gauntlet down to his rivals by declaring: “A five-shot cushion is doing the trick so I am in a great position. While they are chasing me the best they can, I will keep my foot down and my head down and try and keep the momentum going.”

Emerging strong down the final straight of the season is defending Dubai champion, Rory McIlroy, whose football friends seem to be finally bringing out the best in his golf.

Injured England and Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick walked all 18 holes to witness McIlroy eagle the 14th en route to a 68 and a share of ninth on six under par.

Carrick’s Manchester United team-mate, Ryan Giggs is due to be out on the Earth Course today and McIlroy hinted QPR star, Joey Barton has promised to follow him around on the final day.

“It was great to see Michael out there today as I met him a few weeks ago when I was in Manchester and while he’s out for a few weeks, he said to me that he and his wife, Lisa were considering coming out to Dubai,” he said.

“I saw him this morning before I went out and I said to him: ‘You sure, you’re good for 18 holes?’ and he said that the doctors indicated it was good for him to be out walking.

“Hopefully, Michael can follow me around for the next few days as maybe I can shoot a couple of low ones.”

McIlroy continues to insist his ball-striking gets better with each round but then it led to him being asked to mark this aspect of his game out of 10 commencing with the start of the year when he switched to Nike and then mid-year and up to the present.

“I’d say 2, 5 and 8 so it’s getting there,” he said.

McDowell confessed he is “starting to better see his way around” the golf course. “I sort of got one foot back in the building if you like and I’m back in there for the weekend, but I am going to have to play two great rounds to have any chance,” said McDowell of his diminishing chances of overtaking Stenson.

Shane Lowry heads to the weekend with a pair of 71s for share of 29th place on two under.

“It was like the first round today as I just feel I didn’t get what I deserved out of my round. I am still doing okay in the tournament and I am just one round away, I feel, from a really low round.”


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