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Henrik Stenson taking break before Masters

World number 12 Henrik Stenson, buoyed by a brilliant start to the year, is taking a three-week break to recharge his batteries before turning his attentions to the U.S. Masters.

"It has been a great start with two second places in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, a sixth in Dubai and a third (at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona)," he told the European Tour's official Web site.

"Now I have time to have some rest, work on my game and be fresh for Augusta."

The big-hitting Swede, who defeated American Justin Leonard 3 & 2 in Sunday's third place playoff in Arizona, is set to return to action at the WGC-CA Championship at the Doral Resort in Florida from March 20-23.

Stenson's consistent form has taken him to the top of the European order of merit and into second place on the world points list for the European Ryder Cup team.

"I have a great record in match play and I hope I can keep on playing well throughout the season, get my points up and be part of that (Ryder Cup) team again," said the 31-year-old. "That would be great.

"I wanted to get some points on the board and I've managed to do that," added Stenson, who was beaten by world number one Tiger Woods in the semi-finals in Arizona.

Stenson's run to the semis was the highlight of a good week for Europe as Paul Casey and Colin Montgomerie also reached the third round of the first WGC (World Golf Championships) event of the season.

Eight-times European number one Montgomerie gave a timely reminder to Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo ahead of the biennial clash with the United States at Valhalla, Kentucky in September.

But the 44-year-old Scot still has work to do to qualify for the U.S. Masters which begins on April 10.

The players occupying the top 50 positions in the world rankings the week before Augusta are automatically invited to the first major championship of the season and Montgomerie's efforts in Arizona have only lifted him from 62nd to 54th.

February 26, 2008



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