Stenson tames Tiger and Co in Bahamas

Sweden's Henrik Stenson has won the World Challenge in the Bahamas as tournament host Tiger Woods faded down the stretch to finish fourth.

Published: 08-Dec-2019      Updated: 24-Jan-2020 By Australian Associated Press
  • Gol_Hero_16-9_17713808_1983708_2019120807125298d22eb9-9738-412b-a9d3-332b29773640.jpg_sd_1280x720.jpg
  • henrik-stenson.jpg

Winless in more than two years, Henrik Stenson found himself in the middle of a wild chase to the finish with tournament host and United States President Cup captain Tiger Woods and the elite in golf all around him.

Five players had a chance to win in the final hour on Saturday. Four had at least a share of the lead at one point.

One swing changed everything.

"The shot of the day," Stenson said.

The Swede drilled a 5-wood from 259 yards to within inches of the hole for a tap-in eagle on the par-5 15th, going from a one-shot deficit to a one-shot lead.

Three pars gave him a 6-under 66 and a victory in the World Challenge he might not have seen coming.

Stenson tied for 44th two weeks ago in Dubai and spent a few hours on the range that afternoon with swing coach Pete Cowen.

He carried some of that to the Bahamas, and his nerves held up at Albany Golf Club.

"Sometimes, just keep on working hard and grinding it out," former world No.2 and 2016 Open champion Stenson said.

"Confidence can still be a little higher but I'm really happy with the way I hung in there."

Woods' hopes faded after a bogey on 14, Justin Thomas had a pair of 12-foot birdie putts burn the edge while defending champion Jon Rahm, in his final event before getting married in Spain, appeared to seize control with a birdie-eagle-birdie stretch to take the lead on the 16th hole.

But then 43-year-old Stenson struck the decisive blow to win for the first time in 50 tournaments, a drought dating to August 2017.

Rahm (66) had to settle for second place while Patrick Reed, under scrutiny for improving his line of play in a waste area Friday that led to a two-shot penalty, shook that off for a 66 to finish third.

Woods (69) hasn't won his holiday event since 2011 but he and Thomas (70), who along with Reed are headed to Royal Melbourne to take on the Internationals team next week, came up just short.

"I don't think that's how we wanted it to end up," Woods, who finished fourth, said of he and Thomas.

England's Justin Rose (65) and Thomas (70) shared fifth, five shots adrift of Stenson.

US Open champion Gary Woodland, who started the final round with a one-shot lead, ran into trouble chipping up the slope on the par-5 third hole and made double bogey. He never recovered, shot 73 and tied for seventh.

The World Challenge was just the first stop for 11 of the Americans in the field.

They had a few hours to get changed for a charter flight from the Bahamas to Australia for the Presidents Cup, which starts Thursday with Woods as the first playing captain in 25 years.


Add a comment

Title Notify Website Updates

Subscribe to receive updates and new posts via email