Stenson looks to spearhead Swedish revival - Golf - Sport - The Independent

Ryder Cup afterglow

Stenson looks to spearhead Swedish revival

It was nice of the Ryder Cup to put in an appearance at Woburn Abbey on Wednesday evening for Ken Schofield's retirement party. Schofield is stepping down as executive director of the European Tour after 30 years, during which time Europe have beaten the Americans six times and tied once.

There were rather more members of the cup team at the Abbey than remain at the Heritage tournament today. Five did not enter, three withdrew with exhaustion, two missed the cut - Colin Montgomerie and Ian Poulter, none too chuffed since he is the Woburn touring professional - leaving only Padraig Harrington and David Howell.

Both enter the final round at two under, some way off the pace. You suspect an uproarious welcome awaits those team members at this week's AmEx World Championship at Mount Juliet, especially the Irish triumvirate, but here it has been more understated. "But it's been nice," Harrington said, "to receive those little rounds of applause for doing absolutely nothing."

Harrington needs to finish at least eighth to qualify for the HSBC World Match Play. The first prize is £1m and there is not even the consolation of the Million Dollar at Sun City as that week he is set to defend his Hong Kong Open title. Yet few golfers are less motivated by money.

Schofield's first office was at The Oval, and a painting by Jack Russell of the south London cricket ground was presented to him by Sir Alec and Eric Bedser on the players' behalf. They might have been trying to play at The Oval yesterday but there was no doubt here that the autumnal golfing season was underway.

Nordic invaders made their presence felt on the leaderboard with Henrik Stenson on top at 13 under, by a stroke from Patrik Sjoland and two from Simon Wakefield. Finland's Mikko Ilonen, the former British Amateur champ- ion, had the week's best round with a 65 to be 10 under. Graeme McDowell and Phillip Price, the overnight leaders, both struggled to 72s to stay at nine under, although McDowell had to birdie the last two holes to do so.

However dank and cold, the Duke's course is a magnificent trek through towering pines. It has produced many quality winners - Ian Woosnam finished with four birdies in the last six holes - although in recent times the championship course has been the Marquess, out of commission this week due to diseased greens. As befitting the older style, the Duke's needs pinpoint accuracy, and keeping a bogey off the card, as Wakefield did in his 67, is always notable.

The 30-year-old from Newcastle-under-Lyme has only once kept his card on the European Tour and, at 146th on the Order of Merit, needs a large cheque sharpish. A new fitness regime allowed him to concentrate despite a headache, and plenty of support from Trentham Park has also helped him.

Sjoland has not won for four years and said it was worrying not just that there was no Swede in the Ryder Cup team but that few of his countrymen are winning. Stenson won the 2001 Benson and Hedges International in his rookie year but remodelled his game completely with Pete Cowen.

Stenson is right-handed and trimmer but under a cap he disconcertingly resembles Phil Mickelson. The 28-year-old is a sturdy competitor and at The Belfry, as well as when winning three times on the Challenge Tour, he led from the front. "I played so poorly after I had that, I had to start again with my swing but hopefully I'm coming back stronger and better," he said.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in the leaked trailer for Zoolander 2
film
Sport
footballArsenal take the Community Shield thanks to a sensational strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Arts and Entertainment
Gemma Chan as synth Anita in Humans
film
News
Keeping it friendly: Tom Cruise on ‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ensemble cast: Jamie McCartney with ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’
artBritish artist Jamie McCartney explains a work that is designed to put women's minds at rest
News
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen