Henrik Stenson is eyeing a first Major Championship in 2015 after defending a title for the first time in his career at the DP World Tour Championship.
The Swede carded a closing 70 at Jumeirah Golf Estates to finish 16-under-par, two shots ahead of World Number One Rory McIlroy and fellow Ryder Cuppers Justin Rose and Victor Dubuisson. Victory also assured him of second spot behind McIlroy in the Race to Dubai and second in the world rankings: ‘It would be nice to have been ranked the world's best at some point,’ said Stenson. ‘But if I had the choice I would go for a Major Championship so I am going to try and be in good shape for them next year.’
Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello was seemingly in control on the 16th tee before successive double-bogeys on the par four and par three 17th when he found water on both occasions. McIlroy and Rose closed on 14-under after agonisingly missing near-identical putts for birdie on 18. Stenson was on the same number after 16 holes before a brilliant iron at the par three left a tap-in birdie and he sealed victory in style with a fine birdie four at the last.
‘It feels great,’ added the 38-year-old. ‘I'm exhausted to say the least. It was hot out there and tricky on the back nine. I did not play my best and had a shocking hole on 11 but I did not give up. I just had to dig in there and wait for something to happen. I had a couple of close calls this year to get my win and it was not to be. It's been close but eventually you get something if you stick around and I surely did that.’
McIlroy already had the Race to Dubai title sewn up but was made to rue missed opportunities as he looked in vain for a perfect finish to an incredible season: ‘It seemed like no-one took it by the scruff of the neck,’ said the Northern Irishman. ‘I thought if I could post 16-under I might have a chance. I just did not play well enough to win this week.’
Henrik Stenson: In the bag
Driver: Callaway X2 Hot (9 degrees)
3-wood: Callaway Diablo Octane Tour (13 degrees)
5-wood: Callaway X Hot Pro (17 degrees)
Irons: Callaway Legacy Black Irons (3-PW)
Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 2 Tour Grind (52-10 and 58-9 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey White Ice 2-Ball V-line
Ball: Titleist ProV1X