Euro Tour: Sweden's Henrik Stenson says one good display away from number one
Sweden's Henrik Stenson says he is only one good performance away from becoming European number one for the first time.
Last Updated: 23/10/13 2:24pm
However, Worksop's Lee Westwood still has his eyes on securing a third such title despite Stenson holding a lead of 425,573 euros (£362,660) over Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell at the top of the Race to Dubai.
This week's BMW Masters in Shanghai is the first of four events in the inaugural Final Series and Stenson is rated the current 6/1 favourite with Sky Bet.
But with a first prize of 850,000 euros (£725,000) on offer at Lake Malaren in Shanghai and a total prize fund of almost £20million in the four events, Westwood has not given up hope of overcoming a deficit of more than 1.1m euros.
"It's four big weeks coming up starting here at the BMW Masters," said Stenson, who was second in the Open at Muirfield, third in the US PGA Championship at Oak Hill and then won the Deutsche Bank Championship and Tour Championship to capture the £6.2m ($10m) bonus for winning the FedEx Cup.
The big-hitter has overcome a wrist injury in recent weeks to take his place in China and added: "There's a lot of points and money up for grabs in these events. It's only one top finish from any one of the guys or a couple of the guys behind me to catch me or move beyond.
"So I'm just going to focus on my game and try to have some good weeks and hopefully I can get one really good week out of these four, and that should hopefully give me a shot at the overall title by the time the four weeks have finished.
"Obviously I'm delighted with my season. It was the best even before winning the FedEx Cup, I had all those good finishes and a nice win. Of course, the Tour Championship and winning the FedEx didn't make it any worse.
"It's quite nice to sit there at age 37 - I'm not old, old but I'm not young, young, either. It's nice to have my best year at this point. I took some inspiration from my buddy Robert Karlsson. I think he had his best season winning the Order of Merit when he was about 40 (actually 39)."
Westwood has also had injury problems to contend with and admits he does not know whether he will be "fresh or rusty" after five weeks off.
The former world number one told European Tour Radio: "At the end of the FedEx Cup series I had a bit of a bad back so I went home for five weeks and did a bit of rehab on that, plenty of gym work and some stretching and that's back to normal now and I'm able to concentrate on the end of the year.
"It's a big four tournaments coming up. I'm quite surprised actually, I have only played nine events on the European Tour this year and I still have a chance to win the money list. I am looking forward to it and finishing off strong.
"The focus is to play well in the last four tournaments and see what happens from there. They are massive tournaments with big prize funds so a win or a couple of wins can really shoot you up there.
"I think it (the Final Series) is a good idea. They do it on the PGA Tour with the FedEx Cup and I think it's something the European Tour had to do as well.
"Once everything is finished over there the players that play around the world can focus on this and you are guaranteed good fields for the final few events of the tour."
The BMW Masters is live on Sky Sports 1HD from 05.30 on Thursday