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Painful wrist a concern for Stenson at East Lake

Henrik Stenson of Sweden hits from the 10th tee during the first round of the BMW Championship golf tournament at the Conway Farms Golf Club
Henrik Stenson of Sweden hits from the 10th tee during the first round of the BMW Championship golf tournament at the Conway Farms Golf Club

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Swede Henrik Stenson holds one of the coveted top-five positions in the FedExCup points standings going into this week's season-ending Tour Championship but has growing concern over tendinitis in his left wrist.

Stenson, who won his third PGA Tour title at the Deutsche Bank Championship earlier this month, initially realized he had a problem with his wrist during last week's weather-delayed BMW Championship in Chicago and says the pain has since intensified.

"It isn't great," Stenson told reporters at East Lake on Wednesday. "It's pretty painful. But hopefully, we can stick it out another four days and still play good.

"It started last week at BMW. I thought I'd slept funny on my hand on the Saturday morning. It hasn't really been affecting my shots that much but it's gradually getting more and more painful kind of overnight before I get going in the morning.

"So I'll try to rest it a little bit today and probably come out earlier tomorrow and do a bit more."

With the BMW Championship finishing on Monday due to torrential rain in Sunday's scheduled final round, Stenson has had limited time to prepare for East Lake where has never previously competed.

"The Monday finish in Chicago wasn't ideal for preparations when you're coming into a new venue, but I've done whatever I can here," said the 37-year-old, who sits second in the FedExCup standings.

"I played nine holes yesterday evening, the front nine, and then I just walked the back nine now to have a look at them."

Stenson, who surged to a two-stroke victory in the Deutsche Bank Championship after closing with a five-under-par round of 66 at the TPC Boston, likes the look of the par-70 layout at East Lake.

"It's a course that should suit my game pretty well," said the Swede. "So far this year, part of my success has been hitting a lot of fairways and a lot of greens, and I think that's going to pay off if I can do that out here.

"It's got some real long holes, some tough holes. The greens are really slick if you're coming down the hill, so it's key to keep the ball underneath the hole. Good approach play is going to pay off for sure."

Every player in the elite field of 30 has a mathematical chance of claiming both the Tour Championship and FedExCup honors but only Stenson and four others are automatically guaranteed the overall playoff prize by winning the tournament.

"I'm in a good spot, but I still need a lot of good things to happen to be able to pull off the win," said the Swede, a seven-times winner on the European Tour.

The other four players who could complete the double this week with victory at the Tour Championship are FedExCup points leader Tiger Woods, Australian Adam Scott and Americans Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

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