Stenson caps stellar season in style
Henrik Stenson showed why he is probably the best golfer in the world right now in Sunday’s final round of the DP World Tour Championship.
The Swede ended what has already been a truly remarkable season by any standard by shooting a final-round, eight-under-par 64 to win the European Tour’s season finale – and with it the lucrative Race to Dubai – by an incredible six-shot margin.
Coming as it did after also winning the FedEx Cup play-offs series on the PGA Tour back in September – a unique double he is the first player to achieve – as well as his second place in the Open Championship at Muirfield and third in the US PGA Championship, one would be hard pressed to argue with Ian Poulter’s assertion that Stenson is the “best player on the planet right now.”
Poulter finished second on 19 under par on Sunday, six shots behind Stenson after a well played 66, which also assures him of second place behind the Swede in the Race to Dubai.
The Englishman came off second best, and has lost the bet he had with Stenson heading into the tournament as to who would finish first, but he can still walk away with his head held high, having played superbly in the Finals series over the past four weeks.
Poulter was on hand to douse Stenson in champagne as the champion finished with a superb eagle on the par-five, set up by a high quality approach.
The eagle came after Stenson had already picked up six birdies – four of them on the front nine – in a bogey-free round.
Leading by just one shot from Victor Dubuisson overnight, one might have expected Stenson to show some nerves on Sunday, but in reality he moved quickly to establish his superiority, and never looked like anything other than a winner.
Dubuisson had to settle for third place on 17 under, two shots behind Poulter, after a one-under-par 71. He managed to keep up with Stenson’s early pace after three birdies of his own in the first eight holes, but could only play the last 10 holes in two over.
Fourth place went to Dutchman Joost Luiten (66), while Rory McIlroy (67), Luke Donald (67) and Lee Westwood (68) tied for fifth on 15 under, a good finish for those three those players – and the inconsistent McIlroy in particular – heading into next season.
Stenson said after his round: “It has been an incredible summer for me, the fall (autumn) in America was great and now this. It has been a dream season.
“I played so well this week. I knew the guys would try to catch me, especially Ian who never gives up. I wanted to stay ahead of him and I managed to do that.
“I don’t know how I am going to be able to top this next year but I am going to give my best in the Majors and that (to win one) would be the icing on the cake.”
Poulter added: “I have to take my hat off to him, unbelievable. I tried to run him down as hard as I could but even with a sore wrist he has pressed on and I just could not get close enough.
“Henrik has not made a mistake all week and I just had to make sure of second place and some valuable Ryder Cup points.
“I have thrown a lot at him and given him so much stick, but he is the best player on the planet right now.”
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