Golf: Sweden's Henrik Stenson tops European Tour's money list

Henrik Stenson of Sweden plays a shot during day two of the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai on Nov 18, 2016.
Henrik Stenson of Sweden plays a shot during day two of the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai on Nov 18, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Sweden's Henrik Stenson has won European Tour's Order Of Merit for the second time after none of his challengers could replace him at the top of the money list on the final day of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on Sunday (Nov 20).

The title caps a special year for the 40-year-old, who claimed his maiden Major title at the British Open in July as well as a silver medal at golf's first showing at the Olympics for 112 years.

Stenson finished the tournament in some style, carding a seven-under 65 which included a run of five birdies in the opening seven holes, as well as one on the final hole.

Ultimately, his main challenge on the final day came from the man with the smallest chance of overtaking him: world No. 2, and 2015 order of merit winner, Rory McIlroy.

Needing to win the Dubai tournament, which would also give him the world No. 1 spot, and hope Stenson finished near the bottom of the field, McIlroy had left himself too much to do after a sub-standard first day.

One of the Swede's playing partners on Sunday, the Northern Irishman tore up the front nine with an eagle and five birdies. He finished at seven-under for the day, tied with Stenson overall for the tournament.

Fellow Swede Alex Noren, seven-under overnight, had possibly the best chance of beating Stenson on the final day. Despite three birdies on the back nine, he could not do enough to rein in Stenson and concluded the tournament with a double-bogey at the last.

England's Danny Willett, second in the money list going into Dubai, fell out of contention after a four-over third round.

He carded a two-under final round but was clearly struggling with his right shoulder, in particular off the tee. Willett told reporters he had slept awkwardly on it and woke up in discomfort.

Matthew Fitzpatrick birdied the last hole to beat compatriot Tyrrell Hatton by one shot to win the tournament.

The 22-year-old Englishman completed a remarkable year in which he represented Europe in the Ryder Cup within two years of turning professional, and backed it up by winning the season-ending championship.

Fitzpatrick closed with a 67 for a 17-under total of 271, one better than Hatton who made a bogey on the last hole after hitting his tee shot into the water.