Stenson wins in style to end long wait

NASSAU • Winless in more than two years, Henrik Stenson found himself in the middle of a wild chase to the finish on Saturday with elite golfers all around him.

Five men had a chance to win the Hero World Challenge in the final hour and four had at least a share of the lead at one point. But one swing changed everything. "The shot of the day," the Swede said.

He drilled a five-wood from 259 yards to within inches of the hole for a tap-in eagle on the par-five 15th, going from a one-shot deficit to a one-shot lead.

Three pars gave him a final round of six-under 66 for a 270 total and a one-shot victory he might not have seen coming at Albany Golf Club.

Spaniard Jon Rahm, the winner of the Race to Dubai (the European Tour money list), also shot a 66 to finish as the runner-up.

Stenson tied for 44th two weeks ago in Dubai and spent a few hours on the range that afternoon with swing coach Pete Cowen.

Happy with the extra practice, the Swede flew to the Bahamas and was rewarded for his patience.

"Sometimes, just keep on working hard and grinding it out," he said. "Confidence can still be a little higher, but I'm really happy with the way I hung in there."

The world No. 40, who is now projected to jump back into the top 30, won his first tournament in 50 appearances, a drought dating back to the Wyndham Championship in August 2017.

While his barren run saw him slipping 34 places in the rankings, he said the victory showed he can still "compete with the best" at 43.

Tiger Woods, who has not won his holiday event since 2011, was tied for the lead with five holes left, but hit three poor shots in a row en route to a bogey at the 14th hole and was never a threat thereafter.

With a 69, he finished four shots back in fourth in a final competitive outing before leading the United States team as the first playing captain in 25 years at the Presidents Cup in Melbourne on Thursday.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2019, with the headline 'Stenson wins in style to end long wait'. Print Edition | Subscribe