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Stenson leads European Tour season finale

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Henrik Stenson strengthened his chances of winning the European Tour money title, shooting 4-under 68 Thursday that left him two shots behind leader Alejandro Canizares after the first round of the World Tour Championship.

Having already won this year's PGA Tour FedEx Cup, Stenson leads the European standings. He was tied for third in the season-ending tournament, a shot behind Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Marcus Fraser.

Stenson was two shots ahead of his nearest rival for the money title, playing partner Justin Rose. Ian Poulter, third on the money list, shot 69. Fourth-place Graeme McDowell had 72.

Stenson said he felt no ill effects from an injured right wrist that restricted his practice to nine holes this week on the Earth Course at Jumeriah Estates. His round could have been even better had it not been for the last hole. He said he was "a bit tired" coming to the par-5 18th, which he three-putted for his only bogey.

"So while that was frustrating, it was a good first round," he said. "I am playing good, and there is no real need to worry about the game out there.

"My wrist felt good (Thursday), and it hasn't been bothering me that much. It's after the round that it stiffens up a bit and starts to swell up and look inflamed."

Rose trails Stenson by $287,033. The winner in Dubai earns $1.3 million.

"All in all, I am satisfied (with the first round), as it is a start I can build on," Rose said. "But then in saying that, Henrik got off to another strong start."

PGA: Brian Stuard topped the OHL Classic leaderboard at 5 under with three holes left when first-round play was suspended because of rain and wet conditions at Playa del Carmen, Mexico. More than 3 inches of rain had soaked the course Wednesday night. Play was suspended two different times, then was called for the day at 3:30, with only 15 players able to finish their rounds. Two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton and Alvaro Quiros were a stroke back after 17 and 15 holes, respectively. The event offers full FedEx Cup points for the first time, and the winner gets a spot in the Masters.

LPGA: Pornanong Phatlum took the first-round lead in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, birdieing seven of the first 13 holes on the way to 6-under 66 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Amy Yang was a stroke back. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome was 4 over.

Australian Masters: Adam Scott shot 67 in the first round of his title defense in Melbourne and was tied for second, two behind Nick Cullen. Australian Jarrod Lyle, 32, was playing his first tournament after a 20-month layoff following a second fight with myeloid leukemia. Lyle's first bout with cancer came at 17. In March 2012, after he was a regular on the PGA Tour, he was diagnosed with his second bout.

Stenson leads European Tour season finale 11/14/13 [Last modified: Thursday, November 14, 2013 8:36pm]
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