If there was any doubt that 37 year-old Henrik Stenson was going to make history at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, all one needs to do is watch his final shot into the 18th hole at the Race To Dubai Finale’. He fired a final round eight under par 64 on Sunday at the Jumeriah Estates Golf complex in Dubai to win the tournament by six strokes, and the Race To Dubai Championship. Stenson becomes the first player in history to win both the FedEx Cup Championship, and the Race To Dubai in the same year.
The shot at 18 came after the world’s number three player relieved his ball from the sprinkler head. The question was would he lay up on the par five closing hole to avoid all the trouble around the green, or would he go for the pin with a fairway wood? The rest is history. The shot came within a foot of going in the hole for an Albatross. Henrik Stenson left no doubt that he was the best player on both tours on this day.
The challenge in the final round came from Ian Poulter. Poulter finished the day with a six under par 66 on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to catch the leader. The Englishman started his day with a bogey at the first hole, but recovered nicely to keep some pressure on Stenson throughout the day, but it would not be enough for the win. He did finish in second place in the Race To Dubai, and picked up a nice bonus for his effort.
Turkish Open Champion, Victor Dubuisson started the day one stroke back, and appeared to let the pressure of playing with the leader get to him. His birdie at 18 gave him sole possession of third place in the tournament, and allowed him to finish in sixth place in the Race to Dubai. The 23 year-old Frenchman made four bogeys on the day, and never put together strings of birdies that were characteristic of his win in Turkey last week, and the first three rounds in the desert.
An interesting threesome of all former Race To Dubai Champions finished in a tie for fifth place. 2012 DP Tour Champion, and 2012 Race To Dubai Champion Rory McIlroy had a good week finishing with a final round 67. Lee Wesstwood, and Luke Donald all finished tied with McIlroy at fifteen under par.
At the end of the day, this day, and year belongs to Henrik Stenson. After showing up in Shanghai with wrist problems, it looked like the Swede may have to struggle down the stretch to make history, but in Dubai, he took the Jumeriah Estates World Course apart much like he did East Lake back in September.
The guy is like a machine, in the fairway, on the green, drain the putt. The announcers on the Sunday broadcast said it best. “You can’t hide a pin from him”. The laser irons that he had in the bag during the FedEx Cup playoffs returned to his bag in Dubai.
Congratulations to Henrik Stenson for a great tournament, and a great year! He now has to be the best player in Professional Golf without a major championship on his resume. I can see that statistic changing in 2014. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for April!
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