Stenson joins Pepperell in Nordea Masters lead

 

The Sports Network

Malmo, Sweden (SportsNetwork.com) - Henrik Stenson fired an 8-under 64 on Saturday to grab a share of the lead of the Nordea Masters.

Stenson finished 54 holes on the Lake Course at PGA Sweden National at 13- under-par 203. Eddie Pepperell, who has held a share of the lead since the end of the first round, carded a 7-under 65 to join him there.

The world No. 2 Stenson is an eight-time winner on the European Tour, while Pepperell is seeking his first career win.

"The crowds have been great. I haven't played in front of home crowds for a while and with the success I've had I really feel the support," said the Swedish Stenson. "I'm going to enjoy tomorrow and try to be up there tomorrow with nine to go and try to win this tournament for them."

Stephen Gallacher (65) and Alvaro Quiros (66) shared third place at 12-under. Victor Dubuisson (67) was alone in fifth at 11-under and Bradley Dredge (67) held sixth at minus-10.

Thongchai Jaidee (68), Romain Wattel (66) and Rafael Cabrera-Bello (67) are tied for seventh at 9-under 207.

Pepperell, Quiros and Dubuisson entered the day tied for the lead at 6-under, but Stenson, Chris Doak and Jens Dantorp all birdied the first to meet them atop the leaderboard.

Jaidee, Rikard Karlberg and Robert-Jan Derksen would eventually make it a 10- way tie at 6-under before Quiros opened his round with a 6-foot eagle at the first to jump ahead.

Pepperell followed with a birdie at the first to stay within a shot of Quiros, and continued to roll in birdies at the second and third to claim the outright lead at 9-under.

Quiros answered with a birdie at the third to retake a share of the lead.

Stenson, meanwhile, followed a birdie at the sixth by holing out his second shot at the par-4 seventh for an eagle to join Quiros and Pepperell atop the leaderboard. The Swede then birdied the eighth to claim sole possession of first place at 10-under.

Stenson later added another gain at the 11th to move two clear of the field, and he held at least a 1-shot advantage from there until Quiros rolled in back-to-back birdies at the 10th and 11th to meet him at 11-under.

Pepperell was next to claim a share of the lead by capping consecutive birdies at Nos. 11 and 12 with a chip-in from off the green before Gallacher converted three straight birdies from the 11th to make it a four-way tie.

Stenson answered with a birdie at the 14th to reclaim sole possession of the lead, but tripped to a 3-putt bogey at the 15th to fall back to 11-under and into a tie with Gallacher, Pepperell and Quiros.

Gallacher then broke from the pack with his fourth straight birdie at the 14th.

His lead didn't last long, however, as Pepperell converted three consecutive birdies from the 14th to race to 14-under and claim a 2-stroke advantage.

After Stenson followed a birdie at the 17th with a 2-putt birdie at the last to head into the clubhouse at 13-under, Pepperell tripped to a bogey at the 17th to lose sole possession of the lead.

The Englishman scrambled for par at the 18th after hitting his tee shot into the water to maintain his share of the lead entering the final round.

"Henrik is tied with me so it is going to be a great day tomorrow, but I've just got to keep focused on my game and do what I've been doing. If I do that, I'll have a shot come the last and I'll enjoy it," Pepperell said.

NOTES: Stenson won both the PGA Tour's FedExCup and European Tour's Race to Dubai last season ... Stenson's 64 was the best round of the tournament ... Pepperell had missed the cut in six of his previous 12 starts on the European Tour this season and has not finished better than a share of 21st place at the BMW PGA Championship.

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