ATLANTA — Stepping in from rain that ruined his rhythm and the back end of his round, Henrik Stenson was more interested in looking forward at the Tour Championship.
He still had a four-shot lead.
He was one round from capturing two trophies worth $11.44 million, including the FedEx Cup.
The Swede just made the final day of the PGA Tour season a little more interesting over the last two hours of a dreary Saturday morning at East Lake. He had a nine-shot lead at the turn and walked off the 18th green with a three-putt bogey and his lead back to where it was at the start of the day.
“Of course, I want to win two,” Stenson said after a 1-under 69. “If I can’t win two, I’ll be very pleased to win one. If I’m winning nothing, it will probably be not so sweet from this position. But I didn’t have anything when I came here, so we’ll see what we’ll leave with.”
Stenson appeared to have both wrapped up when he got up-and-down from a bunker on the par-5 ninth for a tap-in birdie to reach 14 under, nine shots clear of Dustin Johnson. Everything changed as the rain began to fall.
Stenson made four bogeys on the back nine — it might have been worse if not for a pair of 12-foot putts he made on the 14th hole for bogey and the 17th hole for par. Johnson was five shots better on the back for a 67, matching the low round of a tough day for scoring and got into the last group.
“I think I’ll choose to look at it from the bright side, even though the weather is not that bright at the moment,” said Stenson, who was at 11-under 199. “Started the day with a four-shot lead and I still got it. So that’s all that matters really.”
Johnson and Steve Stricker, who had a 68 and was at 5-under 205, were the only players within six shots of him.
Johnson was the last man into the 30-man field at East Lake, and he left Chicago on Monday not sure whether he would get in. Now he at least has a shot to start and end the season with a victory. Johnson’s other win this year was at Kapalua in the Tournament of Champions.
“If I keep driving it straight, then I’m going to give him a run tomorrow,” he said.
CHAMPIONS: Vijay Singh shot a 6-under 66 to move into second place after the second round of the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship.
Singh, playing his first event on the Champions Tour, moved within one shot of overnight leader Mark Wiebe, who had a 69 Saturday after opening with a 64. Singh carded a 69 in the first round. The three-time major champion and former world No. 1 had six birdies in his bogey-free second round.
Corey Pavin (68) and Brian Henninger (67) were three shots back in a tie for third place, while Sandy Lyle (70) and John Cook (66) were a further stroke back.
PGA EUROPEAN: Marcus Fraser shot a 4-under 68, giving the Australian a one-stroke lead over Italy’s Francesco Molinari, Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts and Sweden’s Joakim Lagergren after three rounds of the Italian Open.
Fraser had a chip-in birdie on the sixth hole in a bogey-free round that left him at 11 under.
Molinari is trying to capture his national tournament for the second time, having won in Milan in 2006. He became a member of the Golf Club Torino when he was 8 years old.
Fraser says he faces a tough closing round with Molinari just one shot behind and the crowd pulling for him. But, he adds, he will have to play his game and “try and spoil the party, I suppose.”