The third round of the 2013 Tour Championship is in the books, and only one round separates the PGA from crowning the FedEx Cup champion. With just 18 holes remaining, Swedish star Henrik Stenson holds a four-stroke advantage over the second-place Dustin Johnson.
Come Round 4, expect Stenson to rebound from a third-round meltdown and secure both the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup title.
Stenson is currently sitting pretty at 11 under par, with Johnson trailing him at seven under and no other player resting within five strokes of the lead. During the fourth round, however, Stenson fell apart on the back nine, bogeying four of the final nine holes.
It all came down to a lack of accuracy.
Henrik Stenson: missed just 6 greens in regulation through 1st 45 holes this week. Missed 5 GIR on back nine today (score: +3).— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) September 21, 2013
Don't expect Stenson to continue struggling.
The 37-year-old has been one of the best in the world when it comes to both driving distance and accuracy. He's worked his way onto fairways with relative ease and set himself up for safe endings, rather than risky birdie attempts.
On the back nine, we simply saw Stenson lose sight of the strategy that has brought him this far.
The Tour Championship was expected to be a highly competitive event with multiple players vying for the FedEx Cup championship. Instead, only two players are in genuine contention for the event title in Atlanta, Ga.
Most promising of all, no one is within genuine striking distance of Stenson.
Johnson sits at seven under par, but beyond him is Steve Striker, five under, and four separate players at four under par. While the grouping of Billy Horschel, Zach Johnson, Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth may be a danger at four under, that's a full seven strokes behind the leader.
Plain and simple, this is Stenson's title to lose.
Will Henrik Stenson win the Tour Championship?
Should Stenson continue his decline down the leaderboard, there will be another conversation to be had. Until that happens, however, the only possible way for Stenson to lose his lead is to drop, at least, four strokes to Johnson.
Don't hold your breath.
According to PGATour.com, Stenson is No. 5 in the world in driving accuracy at 70.48 percent of fairways hit. He leads all players in greens in regulation percentage at 71.57 and is second in total driving, per PGATour.com.
With that type of reliable accuracy, there's nothing but promise in Stenson's corner.
Furthermore, Stenson has posted an average final round score of 70.14 and ranks amongst the best in the world with that number, per PGATour.com. Should he perform at that level at the Tour Championship, Stenson will win it all.
The only way that can change is for Stenson to continue his collapse—something that simply won't happen.