There were several permutations involved with the Race to Dubai at the start of the week, but Henrik Stenson ensured it was a straightforward conclusion, shooting a superb seven-under par 65 that helped him stay ahead of all his rivals and become European No. 1 for the second time.
The 40-year-old Swede, a Dubai resident for nearly a decade before moving to Florida, achieved the best-case scenario – he beat his three rivals who could have denied him the title by finishing tied ninth at 12-under par.
No. 2 Danny Willett was way behind, tied 50th at one-under par, while No. 3 Alex Noren could do no better than tied 23rd place at eightunder par. Rory McIlroy, who needed to win the tournament to have a chance, finished alongside Stenson.
The reigning Open champion said: “I’m very pleased to get my name on this trophy once again. It’s been a great year, the best year of my career. I’ve always thought it was going to be hard to top 2013, but I think I’ve done that this year.
“Maybe not to the level of golf over six months, but certainly with the highlights of winning The Open, the silver in Olympics and The Race to Dubai again. So it’s been a great year and it feels lovely to finish in this way.”
Stenson was also delighted with the way he ended his season – a 65 that contained eight birdies.
“Yeah, if you’re going to be Europe’s No. 1, you don’t want to finish with a 75, even if you can afford it,” quipped Stenson. “It was nice to play some good golf finally and to shoot a good number on a Sunday. That never hurts.
“It was a solid round of golf today, and just sneaked me into the top-10. Top-10s are always fine.”
Even though he was looking forward to a long family holiday, Stenson insisted he was not going to sit on his laurels.
“Golf is a game where you’re never finished. You can always keep improving. I’m no different. Given the competition that comes up every year, it gets harder every time. You’ve always got to keep on trying to become a better player and keep on moving forward. Otherwise you’re going to get run over and run past,” he added.
“There are areas I can improve for sure, but at the same time, I know that if I get my game in good shape and if every department is working, then I know I’ve got enough game to compete with the best and to beat the best.
“I hit some lovely wedge shots today, but that’s certainly one area where I feel like I can improve I think between 90 and 120 yards, there’s definitely room for improvement there.”
Having won the Race to Dubai title for a second time, to go with the two DP World Championships, Stenson revealed he had a special plan for the stunning trophies.
“I’m very pleased because I’ve got two titles. I have my home in Sweden and I have my home in America, so I can spread it out and make it look good in both places,” he added.
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