McIlroy cedes crown as Stenson lives his dream

It was like a final insult in what was Rory McIlroy’s final event as the defending European No. 1 — being asked to tape a TV piece congratulating Henrik Stenson on succeeding him in winning the Race to Dubai.

In an alcohol-restrained UAE, Stenson was showered with sparkling water by his fellow pros. The Swede created history becoming the first golfer ever to win the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup and European Tour’s Race to Dubai in the same season.

He posted a final round eight under par 64 that included an eagle at the last to capture the year-ending DP World Tour Championship by six shots with a 25-under-par victory tally on the Earth Course at the Jumeriah Estates course.

“It is still taking a little time to sink in, what I’ve achieved this week. I have managed to do something very, very special here this week by winning both in America and the Race to Dubai.

“So to achieve the double, double if you like in winning the DP World Tour Championship and the Race to Dubai on top of winning the PGA Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup takes some beating, I guess.”

Stenson became the second Swede to be crowned European No. 1 and finishing €1,134,327 ahead of his Lake Nona neighbour Poulter, who birdied his closing two holes to shoot a 66 in a 19-under par tally.

“I have to take my hat off to Henrik as he is unbelievable,” said Poulter.

“I tried to run him down as hard as I could but even with a sore wrist, he has pressed on and I just could not get close enough.”

McIlroy officially ended his sixth full season 35th on the Race to Dubai after posting a last day 67 for a share of fifth place on 15-under par.

It means McIlroy is officially now a year without a victory and with just two events in 2013 remaining, must win either next fortnight’s Australian Open and the following week’s Tiger Woods-hosted World Challenge, if he is to maintain a record of having won at least one tournament a year in the past four years.

“I’ve learned a lot of things this year, and it’s been a transitional year,” he said.

“There has been a lot of stuff going on, new equipment, a few things off the course that haven’t really helped either.

“But for the most part, I’m just really happy that my game is back to where I want it to be and that’s all I really care about.”

Graeme McDowell was headed straight for Dubai Airport and a 13-hour flight to Melbourne for this week’s World Cup of Golf after shooting a last round 71 for a share 17th on nine under par.

He also ended his year dropping to forth on the Race to Dubai.

Joining McDowell on the flight to Australia was Shane Lowry who also shot a 71 to share 39th spot on one under par while he ended his season officially 36th on the Race to Dubai and down seven places on last year’s career best of 29th.

RACE TO DUBAI: FINAL STANDINGS

1 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 4,103,796 pts; 2 Ian Poulter (Eng) 2,969,469; 3 Justin Rose (Eng) 2,776,244; 4 Graeme McDowell (N Irl) 2,512,696; 5 Jamie Donaldson (Wal) 2,181,113; 6 Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 1,920,805; 7 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa) 1,804,112; 8 Richard Sterne (Rsa) 1,687,014; 9 Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 1,659,433; 10 Thomas Bjorn (Den) 1,546,735; 11 Matteo Manassero (Ita) 1,414,471; 12 Joost Luiten (Ned) 1,411,909; 13 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 1,367,565; 14 Peter Uihlein (US) 1,360,267; 15 Lee Westwood (Eng) 1,299,694; 16 Sergio Garcia (Spa) 1,280,581; 17 Brett Rumford (Aus) 1,277,022; 18 Branden Grace (Rsa) 1,224,191; 19 Stephen Gallacher (Sco) 1,173,314; 20 Ernie Els (Rsa) 1,166,711.


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