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Friday, 19 March 2010

Henrik Stenson finally delivered the victory his superb golf has been threatening of late when he captured The Commercialbank Qatar Masters at a windswept Doha Golf Club. The 29 year old Swede - second last year to Ernie Els - ensured he went one better with a supremely controlled performance in tough conditions, his final round 68 for a 15 under par total of 273, good enough for a three shot victory over his nearest challenger, England's Paul Broadhurst.

The 2003 champion Darren Fichardt of South Africa took third place on 11 under par 277 while a quartet of players - Nick Dougherty and Richard Finch of England, Niclas Fasth of Sweden and Ricardo Gonzalez of Argentina - claimed a share of fourth on nine under par 279.

But the day, and the week, was all about Stenson, his victory in the co-sanctioned event between The European Tour and the Asian Tour earning him a first prize of €275,456 (£188,716), a rise to second behind David Howell on The European Tour Order of Merit, and a virtual guarantee now of a place in Europe's Ryder Cup Team at The K Club in September.

In claiming his third European Tour International Schedule victory, Stenson, the first wire-to-wire winner in Qatar, successfully laid the ghost of 2005 to rest. Ten months ago, he was pipped at the post by Els, but this time he made no mistakes.
 
"It's a good mix between happy and relief after four days, especially the last two rounds in the strong winds and tough conditions. Eventually we came out on top. I'm really happy to have won this after finishing second last year. It feels great," he said.
 
Stenson arrived in Doha in a rich vein of form after finishing second to Chris DiMarco in the inaugural Abu Dhabi Golf Championship last week and was rock steady despite the buffeting winds. Leading by one overnight, he turned in 34 to lead by two strokes but dropped his first shot of the day on the 14th. The cool Swede, however, showed his class by getting the shot straight back with a six foot birdie putt on the 15th but Broadhurst fought doggedly with a birdie of his own on the 16th.
 
Stenson soon regained the upper hand when he drained a snaking 30 foot putt for birdie on the 17th as Broadhurst agonisingly missed from 15 feet. "Walking up to the putt on the 17th  I thought last year I had one that looked in and missed it unbelievably and I thought this hole owes me one. And I went up and rolled it in. It was kind of neat," said Stenson.
 
Broadhurst said Stenson was "the next special one from Europe" after watching the Swede power past him. "The best player on the day won. I was just trying to hang in there as long as I possibly could. I rallied a bit in the end, put a bit of pressure on but his 30 foot putt on 17 just killed it off really. He's got a lot of chances of winning Majors and stuff, he's next in the line I think," said the Englishman.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1STENSON, HenrikSWE18-15
2BROADHURST, PaulENG18-12
3FICHARDT, DarrenRSA18-11
T4DOUGHERTY, NickENG18-9
T4GONZALEZ, RicardoARG18-9
T4FASTH, NiclasSWE18-9
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