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Eagle helps Henrik Stenson take Deutsche Bank lead

By Gethin Coolbaugh, The Sports Xchange
Henrik Stenson. Photo by Jim Bryant/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/99e94b31c6ccb1a624b68de8a805abb7/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Henrik Stenson. Photo by Jim Bryant/UPI | License Photo

NORTON, Mass. -- Henrik Stenson is hoping that history repeats itself Monday.

Two years after a win at TPC Boston, the 39-year-old from Sweden is in prime position to secure another victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship after Sunday's third-round 6-under-par 65, giving him a one-stroke lead at 13-under in the second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs.

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"I should win this every second year," Stenson said jokingly after riding a 2013 victory in Norton to his first FedExCup title. "I know coming into the FedExCup Playoffs if I get a good couple of tournaments, first goal was to make it to East Lake and I got that fixed last week."

Stenson, ranked No. 4 in the FedExCup standings entering the weekend, clinched a spot in the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Illinois, the last of four playoff events, with last weekend's second-place finish in The Barclays at Plainfield Country Club in Edison, N.J.

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"It's a good time to start playing well, and of course it's a big event and lots to play for," said Stenson. "I'm happy with the progress I made and it gave me a little bit of a confidence boost last week, that I had a nice tournament ... and I hope I can have another one here tomorrow."

Stenson eagled No. 4 and rolled in his fourth birdie of the day at No. 18 to cap a bogey-free round after starting the day five shots behind 36-hole leader Charley Hoffman following opening scores of 67-68. He started par-par before a birdie on No. 3 heading into the par-4 fourth hole.

On No. 4, Stenson drove the green with a 3-wood before dropping in a 20-foot eagle putt.

"That gets most of the round going," Stenson said. "Things were going well, and I kept on playing pretty good and continued giving myself chances."

Rickie Fowler is one shot off the lead in second after a 67. Fowler also played bogey free and sank four birdies on the front nine before paring his last 10 holes.

"Definitely happy with the position I'm in with the way things turned out today," Fowler said. "It wasn't a great driving day, I wanted to go out and hit a lot of fairways, but that wasn't exactly accomplished. I'll go work on the range and get that squared away."

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Matt Jones of Australia is tied for third with Sean O'Hair at 202 after firing a 68. Five birdies through 10 holes jolted Jones into a share of the lead before a costly bogey on No. 16.

O'Hair logged a bogey-free 67 after back-to-back birdies on Nos. 17 and 18.

Russell Knox of Scotland ended the day in fifth at 203 after his third-round 68. Jerry Kelly, Daniel Berger, Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, Danny Lee of New Zealand and Kevin Chappell round out the top 10 in a five-way tie for sixth at 205.

Jason Day of Australia shot a 3-over-par 73 Sunday, snapping a streak of 22 consecutive par-or-better rounds dating back to the final round of the U.S. Open Championship on June 21. Day, No. 1 in the FedExCup standings after last weekend's win at The Barclays, is tied for 25th at 209.

"There's no excuse for poor playing," Day said. "I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. I didn't have the stuff on the greens that I wanted to have."

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Hoffman had a difficult day, finishing at 76 after eight bogeys. He had a three-stroke lead over Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe entering Sunday after opening with 67-63.

Hoffman and de Jonge are in a seven-way tie for 11th at 206.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy is tied for 64th after an even-par 71, 15 shots off the lead.

After birdieing No. 3 to gain a stroke through seven holes, McIlroy made back-to-back bogeys at No. 8 and No. 9 and had another on No. 14 before finishing birdie-birdie.

McIlroy skipped The Barclays last week, though he reclaimed his title as the world's top-ranked golfer after Jordan Spieth missed the cut in Edison, N.J.

Spieth missed the cut again after opening rounds of 75 and 73, but at No. 2 in the FedExCup standings, he will safely qualify for the BMW Championship in Lake Forest, Ill., on Sept. 17-20.

Phil Mickelson was bogey free on the front nine before bogeying No. 11, but he had birdies on Nos. 15 and 18 to finish with a 70. He is tied for 53rd at even-par 213.

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NOTES: Henrik Stenson of Sweden, winner of the 2013 Deutsche Bank Championship, is attempting to join Vijay Singh, who won at TPC Boston in 2008, as the only two-time winners at the event in PGA Tour history. ... Rickie Fowler's previous best finish at the Deutsche Bank Championship was last year's T-23. ... Jordan Spieth, despite missing back-to-back cuts, could regain his No. 1 world ranking if Australian Jason Day does not win and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy finishes lower than 10th this weekend. ... Hunter Mahan, the only player to appear in all 34 FedExCup playoffs events since the format's inception, needs a 10th-place finish to make the cut for the BMW Championship. "It's something I want to continue," Mahan said after firing a 7-under-par 64 to move into at tie for 11th at 206. ... Chris Kirk, last year's Deutsche Bank Championship winner, shot a 67 and is tied for 32nd after opening 74-69.

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