McIlroy has to settle for second as Stenson defends title

McIlroy has to settle for second as Stenson defends title

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson successfully defended a title for the first time in his career after a thrilling finish to the DP World Tour Championship on Sunday.

Stenson carded a closing 70 at Jumeirah Golf Estates to finish 16 under par, two shots ahead of world number one Rory McIlroy and Ryder Cup team-mates Justin Rose and Victor Dubuisson.

Ireland’s Shane Lowry finished a shot further back in fifth to move into the top 50 in the world and take a massive step towards securing a Masters debut next April.

Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello held a two-shot lead with seven holes to play only to bogey the 12th and run up double bogeys on the 16th and 17th after finding water on both occasions.

Stenson had also found trouble on a rollercoaster back nine, hitting his tee shot out of bounds on the 11th to gift playing partner Cabrera-Bello that two-shot advantage, but a brilliant tee shot on the par-three 17th produced a tap-in birdie to reclaim the lead.

McIlroy and Rose had missed birdie putts on the 18th from near-identical positions, while Dubuisson had to settle for a birdie after almost holing out from a greenside bunker.

The victory was worth more than #1.3million to Stenson thanks to the first prize of #830,000 and a bonus of #510,000 for maintaining second place in the Race to Dubai behind McIlroy.

“It feels great,” said Stenson, whose win here 12 months ago ensured he became the first man to win the Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup in the same season. “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 which knocked me back 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.”

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