Dubai (UAE): Sweden’s Henrik Stenson demonstrated why he is currently the world’s best golfer by dominating a powerful field to win the US$8 million DP World Tour Championship by an impressive six shots on a wind-swept Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
The Swede’s victory was never in doubt as he stormed to a final round 64 (-8) and a new record tournament low of 25-under-par 263 to wrap up the final tournament of the year and with it The Race to Dubai title and mantle of European Number One.
It means Stenson becomes the only man to win the US PGA FedEx Cup and The European Tour’s Race to Dubai in the same year after seeing off the challenge of England’s Ian Poulter, who finished in second place on 19-under-par, with Frenchman Victor Dubuisson in third place on 17-under.
“It’s a massive thrill to win both titles – I’ve achieved something very special and it will take a lot to beat this in my career,”
said World Number Three Stenson, who received his impressive trophies from HE Sultan bin Sulayem, Chairman of DP World; Mohammed Sharaf, Group CEO of DP World; Yousuf Kazim, General Manager of Jumeirah Golf Estates; Mattar Al Tayer, Deputy Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council; and European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady.
The Swede went into the day just one shot ahead of nearest rival Dubuisson but three birdies in the first five holes set the tone as Stenson kept up the pressure on the young Frenchman. Further birdies on the 12th and 14th put him well in front before a stunning three wood to within a foot on the 18th saw him finish with an eagle three and a new 72-hole tournament record of 263 (-25).
“It was about 237m from the pin on the 18th and I can’t say I was aiming for the flag as I just wanted to get it over the water but it flew and almost went in the hole. I couldn’t see it at first but then I heard the grandstand and they seemed to like it! It’s a great way to finish what has been a sensational year for me.”
All week Stenson had been nursing an injured wrist but there was no sign of any weakness in the Swede’s swing as he dominated the event with rounds of 68, 64, 67 and 64 with just two dropped shots in four rounds over the immaculate Earth course.
That was bad news for Englishman Poulter who went into the last round needing a low score coupled with a collapse by Stenson to have any chance of winning The Race to Dubai. But Poulter is not know for giving up and despite starting with a bogey on the first hole, seven birdies saw him move clear in second place even if he didn’t quite have enough to catch the new European Number One.
“He beat me fair and square. Henrik is in phenomenal form and you have to respect that – he works really hard and I’m very pleased for him. You’re witnessing the best player on the planet at the minute for sure. I don’t think there’s anyone that can go up against him.”
On the plus side, Poulter’s second place was enough to give him the runner-up spot in The Race to Dubai ahead of fellow Englishman Justin Rose in third and Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland in fourth.
For Stenson, the end of 2013 European Tour season has been lucrative both professionally and financially as the Swede collected the DP World Tour Championship winner’s cheque of US$1.33 million as well as The Race to Dubai champion’s bonus of a further US$1 million. It begs the question, where does he go from here?
“I think golf is a game where you’re never going to be finished so there’s always room for improvement,”
“I’ve certainly got a couple of areas where I know I can keep on developing, which could make me better as a player. It’s all about just getting out of bed, working away and trying to be better. It’s not what I did in the summer that created this; it’s the effort and time that I put in over the last couple of years that’s been paying off from this summer and onwards.”
The new DP World Tour Championship winner was also delighted with the news that The Race to Dubai has been extended to 2017 and will continue to be played at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
“It’s pretty good news for me as I called Dubai home for around ten years and I‘ve won this event, the Dubai Desert Classic and the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters so I’ve only really to win in Abu Dhabi to win all four. We get great support for golf in this region and Dubai has been very important for The European Tour for a long time now and we really appreciate their support.”