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Stenson storms ahead in Dubai

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (SportsNetwork.com) - Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson is living up to the distinction at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

Stenson fired an 8-under-par 64 on Friday to grab the halfway lead at the closing event of the European Tour's Final Series. The 37-year-old Swede, who is looking to become the first player to win the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai in the same year, sits at 12-under-par 132 through 36 holes on Jumeirah Golf Estates' Earth Course.

"I have my game plan cemented on this course and it's been working out great the first two days," said Stenson. "It could have been a bit better but there is no point being greedy. I am delighted with the first two days' work."

Overnight leader Alejandro Canizares shot 67 and dropped into second place at 11-under. Canizares is seeking his first win on the European Tour since earning his maiden title in 2006.

Victor Dubuisson, last week's Turkish Airlines Open winner, carded a 66 and moved into a tie for third place alongside Marcus Fraser (69) at 8-under-par 136.

The top nine players in the Race to Dubai standings still have a chance to win the title, but only Stenson, Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell control their own fate. If Stenson, Rose or McDowell win this tournament, they will win the Race to Dubai, regardless of where anyone else finishes.

Rose is tied for fifth place after a second-round 67. He stands alongside Ian Poulter (68), who ranks fourth in the Race to Dubai standings, Jonas Blixt (65) and Kiradech Aphibarnrat (70) at 7-under.

"I keep track of what's happening with the other players, I'm too curious not to," Stenson admitted. "I saw both Justin and Ian are 7-under, so they are chasing me as hard as they can."

Former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy (67) and Miguel Angel Jimenez (66) are part of a group tied for ninth at minus-6.

McDowell (68), meanwhile, is tied for 21st at 4-under.

On Thursday, Stenson had a chance to join Canizares at the top of the leaderboard, but he 3-putted for bogey on the par-5 18th. He turned the tables a day later, dropping third shot within two feet at the last and tapping in for birdie and the outright lead.

Canizares, playing two groups behind Stenson, managed par at 18 to end his round one stroke back. The Spaniard went bogey-free on Friday, notching five birdies to remain in contention.

Stenson also went bogey-free, adding seven birdies to his gain at the last.

"I am in a great position to have a shot at winning and hopefully I will be there on Sunday afternoon," he said.

NOTES: At 54th in the standings, Canizares has no chance to win the Race to Dubai ... Stenson leads Rose by 213,468 points in the Race to Dubai. McDowell trails Stenson by 321,800 points. Poulter, Jamie Donaldson, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Thongchai Jaidee, Richard Sterne and Dubuisson stand Nos. 4 - 9 in the Race to Dubai ... Sergio Garcia (13), Ernie Els (17), Charl Schwartzel (22) and Alex Noren (51) are the only players inside the top 60 in the Race to Dubai standings who are not playing this event ... The purse for this tournament is $8 million, with the winner earning $1.33 million.