Henrik Stenson: This one would top the lot

Open champion Henrik Stenson believes it will be one of the best achievements of his career if he can finish a memorable season as European number one for the second time.

Stenson claimed his first major title in record-breaking fashion at Royal Troon in July, equalling the lowest score in major history in the final round to edge out Phil Mickelson in a thrilling duel.

Another head-to-head battle saw Stenson win a silver medal behind Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose in Rio as golf returned to the Olympics for the first time in 112 years.

But the 40-year-old Swede insists winning a second Race to Dubai title will rank among those historic successes if he can hold off rivals Danny Willett, Alex Noren and Rory McIlroy.

“It would be one of my finest achievements,” Stenson said ahead of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. “It was pretty sweet to be here as Europe’s number one in 2013 and I don’t think it would be any less sweet being here as number one in 2016 with the season that I’ve had.

“I’m going to give it my best and whether I play great or good or average or whatever it might be, I’m going to try my hardest for four days, and that’s all I can do.”

Stenson, who has a lead of 299,675 points over Masters champion Willett, joked he would be trying harder than last year, when an opening round of 77 effectively ended his chances of a third straight victory at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

The 40-year-old went on to finish joint last in the 60-man field - “I had to stand on my head to see myself on top of the leaderboard”- as he felt the effects of a long season, which was still two weeks away from completion and followed by a knee operation in December.

The same knee has been giving Stenson problems this season as well, but he hopes to avoid any further surgery and finish the season as European number one for the second time in four years. “I’m in a great position,” the world number four added. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better.


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