Tuesday, 01 January 2013
Henrik Stenson - Race to Dubai champion  (Getty Images)
Henrik Stenson - Race to Dubai champion (Getty Images)
Henrik Stenson hailed a "dream season" as he claimed a historic double in fitting fashion by storming to victory in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

Stenson became the first man to win The Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup on the US PGA Tour thanks to a commanding six shot victory at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

The 37 year old carded a flawless closing 64, signing off in style with a tap-in eagle on the 18th, to finish with a tournament-record total of 25 under par, with money list rival Ian Poulter a valiant second following a 66.

France's Victor Dubuisson was two shots further back in third, with Dutchman Joost Luiten fourth and a trio of former World Number Ones - Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood - sharing fifth.

"It has been an incredible summer for me, the (autumn) in America was great and now this," said Stenson, who was also second in The Open Championship and third in the US PGA Championship. "It has been a dream season.

"I played so well this week. I knew the guys would try to catch me, especially Ian who never gives up. I wanted to stay ahead of him and I managed to do that.

"I don't know how I am going to be able to top this next year but I am going to give my best in the Majors and that (becoming the first male Swedish player to win one) would be the icing on the cake."

Poulter, who was one of the first to congratulate Stenson after waving a white towel in surrender on the 18th, said: "I have to take my hat off to him, unbelievable. 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.

"Henrik has not made a mistake all week and I just had to make sure of second place and some valuable Ryder Cup points. I have thrown a lot at him and given him so much stick, but he is the best player on the planet right now."

Stenson won his first European Tour title in 2001 but then went through the first of two career slumps, the second coming in 2011 and leaving him 230th in the Official World Golf Ranking at the start of last year.

Add in some serious health problems - one caused by a parasite infection he contracted while on holiday - and Stenson's form in 2013 is all the more remarkable, with a share of third place in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open followed up by runners-up finishes in The Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and third place in the US PGA Championship in a five-week spell.

Then came his US success and two months on and the scenario was repeated, with Stenson, Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell arriving in Dubai knowing a win would secure The Race to Dubai title.

A second round of 64 gave Stenson a one shot lead he maintained thanks to a 67 on Saturday, while three birdies in the first five holes of the final round meant the result was never in doubt, despite being on anti-inflammatory tablets all week due to his wrist problem.

"I am in desperate need of some rest," he admitted. "I don't want to jeopardise anything long term so I'm going to give it some rest."

The good news is that a return to The Ryder Cup side for the first time since 2008 next year already looks secure, while the long-term goal of becoming World Number One is firmly on the agenda.

"It's going to take a lot more good golf but I am certainly going to keep on trying," the World Number Three added.

"Everyone who has won The Race to Dubai has been World Number One at some point (Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Donald and McIlroy) so it would not be fair not to try."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1STENSON, HenrikSWE18-16
T2MCILROY, RoryNIR18-14
T2ROSE, JustinENG18-14
T2DUBUISSON, VictorFRA18-14
5LOWRY, ShaneIRL18-13
T6OOSTHUIZEN, LouisRSA18-12

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