(Reuters) - World number two Henrik Stenson is hoping to add the European Tour’s unofficial ‘Sultan of Swings’ crown to his growing portfolio at the Qatar Masters this week.
The 6-foot-1 (1.87-metre) Swede has won four times in the Middle East, the joint highest total along with Ernie Els, and is keen to move one ahead of his South African playing partner at the Doha Golf Club.
“It has been a good hunting ground,” Stenson told reporters on the eve of the $2.5 million tournament.
The 38-year-old has won three times in Dubai and also has a fondness for Qatar, having lifted the trophy there in 2006 and been a runner-up on three separate occasions.
“I guess I’ve figured out a decent way to play this course and I’ve done some good scores over the years in windy conditions as well,” said Stenson.
“I don’t know what the forecast is but normally we get our fair share of wind here which is part of the course defense and makes it play better.”
Stenson, however, will have to fare a lot better than he did when missing the cut at last week’s Abu Dhabi Championship.
The Swede opened with a disappointing four-over-par 76 and a second round 68 was not enough to secure him a place among the weekend participants.
“At least I played better the second day than the first day,” joked the Ryder Cup player. “Of course I hope to improve on last week’s performance this week.
“It’s early in the year and a work in progress but I felt like I played half decent out there.”
Stenson will play in the same group as Els and defending champion Sergio Garcia, who was an absentee in Abu Dhabi, in Wednesday’s first round in Doha.
“It’s my second week now playing with Ernie, and Sergio is back in action, so we’ll have good fun out there,” said the Swede who has won 13 times around the world.
World number one Rory McIlroy, who was the runner-up in Abu Dhabi, takes a break this week before returning for next week’s Dubai Desert Classic.
Editing by Pritha Sarkar