Golf

Stenson shines after Europe’s best turn up the heat in Dubai

Henrik Stenson has retained his DP World Tour Championship title as Europe’s Ryder Cup stars shone in Dubai

Stenson birdied the final two holes to win the season ending tournament by two shots over his team mates from Gleneagles, including Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Victor Dubuisson. Irishman Shane Lowry finished a further shot back in fifth, but a strong finish moved him into the world’s top 50.

Stenson played fantastically for three and a half days, but a double bogey on the 12th, where he hit his ball out of bounds, looked like it may cost him the title.

It seemed as though Rafael Cabrera-Bello, who had started the day as joint leader with the Swede, would be the player to capitalise on the mistake, but double bogeys at 16 and 17 put an end to his challenge.

Stenson made birdie at 17 when he hit a superb 5-iron from 195 yards to inside two feet. He described it as his “shot of the tournament”.

McIlroy and Rose had putts at the 18th which threatened to add pressure on the leader, but both players failed to convert their chances. That left Stenson needing just a par at the par-5 18th. He eventually made a birdie four to close out the tournament in style and secure the $1.33million first prize.

This was the 38-year-old’s first win of the season and was actually the first time he had retained any of his seventeen tour titles. The win will also take Stenson up to number two in the world rankings.

Stenson is now planning to take some time off and head back to his home in Florida. After the round he jokingly said: “I’m going to go into hiding. Good luck trying to find me.”

McIlroy had already been confirmed as the European Tour number one before this week and, when asked about his goals for 2015, he said just two words: “Green Jacket.”

The Masters is the only major that the world number one has not yet won, but he is hoping that he can change that when he heads to Augusta in April.

The Northern Irishman said: “That’s the only one left to complete the collection. I’ve got a chance to complete the career grand slam at 25. Something I never thought would be possible.”

The European Tour will now take a short break before heading to Sun City in South Africa for the start of the 2015 season at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in the first week of December.

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