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Henrik Stenson finished The European Tour’s Race to Dubai on a high note for a second year in a row, carding a final round of 70 to defend his title in the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai by two strokes from a trio of Ryder Cup team-mates.

Twelve months ago the Swede sealed both the Race to Dubai and the season finale at Jumeirah Golf Estates, and, while Rory McIlroy had already wrapped up the former before the week began, Stenson ensured he finished second to the Northern Irishman with the first tournament title defence of his European Tour career.

As Stenson came up the closing hole of the Earth Course, McIlroy was one of the three players in the clubhouse on 14 under par after his eight foot birdie putt shaved the cup on the last hole, meaning he signed for closing round of 68. He was subsequently joined on that mark by Englishman Justin Rose, who missed a birdie chance of his own from similar length and signed for a 69, then Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, who tapped in for birdie following a superb bunker shot on the last for a round of 69.

Stenson had also been on 14 under par with two holes to play, after following three birdies in the opening seven holes with a bogey on the eighth hole and a double bogey on the 11th. But as his Ryder Cup team-mates watched from the clubhouse, Stenson produced a sublime shot on the par three 17th hole for a tap in birdie, and he picked up another shot on the last for a winning total of 16 under par.

It meant McIlroy could not add a fifth European Tour title to his considerable list of achievements in 2014, but the World Number One did lift some more silverware after receiving the Race to Dubai Trophy for the second time in three years.

The Open and US PGA Champion ended the season-long contest with 7,149,503 points, finishing 2,168,410 ahead of runner-up Stenson.

Rose, Welshman Jamie Donaldson, Dubuisson and Spaniard Sergio Garcia completed the top six, which consisted entirely of members of Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup Team.

Key player quotes

Henrik Stenson: “It feels great. I’m exhausted to say the least and it was a tricky day. On the back nine the wind picked up and I didn’t play my best, and I had a shocking hole on 11 and that kind of put me back but I didn’t give up. I was hanging in there and made a couple important par putts on 12 and 16 I would say. That kind of kept me in the ball game and hit it to a foot on 17, and had a one shot cushion up the last there and hit a lovely pitching wedge that secured it. Very pleased with that.

“It feels fantastic to have won and to do it down here in Dubai, that was such a great place for me last year, and to come back and defend was special. I never felt that it was much of an issue not having defended a tournament, but it would be a nice thing to do, and now I managed to achieve even that. So very pleased with that, and again, to get a win in a strong championship, we have a lot of great players here this week, so there’s always that extra icing on the cake when you win a tournament where you’ve got a strong field and you’re up against some of the world’s best.”

Rory McIlroy: “Today was okay. I obviously didn’t make any bogeys out there, but it was pretty scrappy. I felt the most comfortable with my game on the first day and then I didn’t quite have it for the rest of the week. I’ve got an event coming up in Australia next week, the Australian Open so I’ll try and go there and finish the season off with a win.

“It’s a great feeling to know that I’ve played the best golf throughout the season of any of the guys for the second time in three years, it’s really nice. It’s been a fantastic season. Obviously the wins have been great but I think what I’m really proud of is weeks like this week where I haven’t quite played my best but still be able to give myself a chance to win tournaments, and that’s really what I think will stand me in good stead going forward and looking into 2015 and beyond, having these bad weeks where previously I might have missed cuts, I’m still contending for tournaments and that’s exciting.

“I’m excited about the new season ahead. Everything will be geared toward getting ready for Augusta and being ready for April. I’m looking forward to it – I’ve got a chance to win the career Grand Slam at 25, so there is a lot to work hard on and a lot to try and achieve next year.”

Complete final round scores (par 72)

272 H Stenson (Swe) 68 66 68 70,
274 V Dubuisson (Fra) 71 68 67 68, J Rose (Eng) 71 66 68 69, R McIlroy (Nir) 66 70 70 68,
275 S Lowry (Irl) 66 71 72 66,
276 T Hatton (Eng) 70 68 68 70, R Karlsson (Swe) 71 68 68 69, L Oosthuizen (RSA) 69 71 70 66,
277 R Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 73 64 65 75, J Luiten (Ned) 70 69 68 70, B Grace (RSA) 72 67 68 70,
278 J Donaldson (Wal) 72 70 67 69, S Garcia (Esp) 73 69 69 67, T Fleetwood (Eng) 69 74 67 68, T Olesen (Den) 67 70 69 72,
279 P Larrazábal (Esp) 71 69 69 70, F Molinari (Ita) 73 69 69 68, S Dyson (Eng) 73 70 67 69, R Ramsay (Sco) 67 69 75 68, B Wiesberger (Aut) 72 70 68 69,
280 D Willett (Eng) 69 67 71 73, M Warren (Sco) 71 71 65 73, A Sullivan (Eng) 73 69 67 71, I Poulter (Eng) 75 69 70 66, H Otto (RSA) 71 68 70 71,
281 E Pepperell (Eng) 76 69 66 70, A Levy (Fra) 71 72 71 67, O Fisher (Eng) 72 70 73 66, G Coetzee (RSA) 70 70 69 72, L Donald (Eng) 76 66 71 68,
282 K Broberg (Swe) 70 67 72 73, N Colsaerts (Bel) 73 72 70 67, T Jaidee (Tha) 72 72 67 71, S Gallacher (Sco) 72 68 71 71, D Fichardt (RSA) 72 68 72 70,
283 T Bjørn (Den) 71 69 69 74, R Wattel (Fra) 71 70 71 71, T Aiken (RSA) 76 66 72 69,
284 M Kaymer (Ger) 72 69 74 69, M Siem (Ger) 76 66 72 70, E Els (RSA) 75 67 70 72,
285 D Howell (Eng) 71 67 73 74, E Molinari (Ita) 69 74 69 73, R Fisher (Eng) 69 73 67 76, M Jiménez (Esp) 71 73 69 72, B Koepka (USA) 78 68 70 69,
286 W Ormsby (Aus) 73 71 69 73, G McDowell (Nir) 72 70 72 72, L Westwood (Eng) 70 71 74 71, C Schwartzel (RSA) 72 71 70 73,
287 F Zanotti (Par) 73 72 72 70, J Blixt (Swe) 70 74 70 73, R Sterne (RSA) 71 74 71 71,
288 E Grillo (Arg) 68 75 72 73,
292 O Wilson (Eng) 75 72 72 73, M Ilonen (Fin) 74 76 68 74,
293 D Lipsky (USA) 76 75 70 72,
295 M Baldwin (Eng) 75 74 71 75,
297 M Manassero (Ita) 75 72 75 75,
298 M Hoey (Nir) 73 78 70 77

Source: European Tour

Author

Graham J Gordon, The Editor and Owner, GolfblogspotUK

The GolfblogspotUK website is owned and run by former Walker Cup player and European Tour card holder, Graham J Gordon, from Scotland, the Home of Golf. The owner is a golf fanatic who had to retire early from competitive tour play due to a back injury that required surgery. Graham wishes to share his knowledge and own experiences of the game with the GolfblogspotUK community and to receive your feedback on all aspects of the sport. Graham has been playing the game for over 20 years and received a great deal of pleasure from the sport. He has met several friends and visited many different places around the world, thanks to playing the great game of golf. Time to put a little back into the game to help others.

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