Henrik Stenson claims golf’s richest prize
Henrik Stenson fended off a final-round charge by rookie Jordan Spieth to win the season-ending Tour Championship by three shots, along with FedEx Cup honours and the $10 million bonus.
Stenson started the final round four strokes in front only to see his lead briefly cut to one on the back nine before he birdied the 15th on the way to his fourth PGA Tour title and his second of the year.
Spieth playing in his rookie season on the PGA Tour and seeking his second victory of the year, closed with an eight-birdie 64 to finish in a tie for second at 10-under with fellow American Steve Stricker.
American Webb Simpson carded the day’s low round of 63 to secure fourth place in the elite 30-player field at nine under, a stroke better than fellow countryman Dustin Johnson.
Australians Adam Scott and Jason Day finished together in a tie for 14th.
It was enough to have Scott finishing fourth on the season points list, bringing a $US1.5 million bonus. Day finished his season in 17th place on the FedEx points list and an extra $US240,000.
Henrik Stenson (Credit: Anthony Powter)
Stenson looked in complete control early on and moved to five in front after the opening nine before 20-year-old Spieth went on a birdie rampage.
Spieth, who had no status on the PGA Tour at the start of the season, birdied seven holes in a 10-hole stretch to be briefly just one off the lead before a penultimate bogey and a closing par ended his campaign.
But Stenson, who came into the week ranked second in the FedEx Cup standings, held his nerve when it counted – the closing stretch of a major tournament – to go on to win his biggest pay cheque to date in his career.
“To hang in the way I did I am really satisfied,” said Stenson, the first European to win the FedEx Cup in its seven-year history.
“To be honest I didn’t feel that confident with my game, I had to battle it a little bit out there today but I am very pleased and proud in the way I kept it together and to win both these trophies feels unbelievable.”
Stenson won the 2009 Players Championship before dropping momentary into the golfing wilderness, from a top-10 player in the world to 230th.
“I had a rough time back in ’01, ’02, ’03, and that was kind of the hard one to get out of when it happened again in 2010 and 2011,” said Stenson.
“It was a frustrating season in 2011 for sure, but it was more frustration not playing the way I know I can.”
Stenson’s resurrection began at the end of 2012 when he claimed the European Tour sanctioned South African Open and now he’s moved back to an equal career high fourth in the world rankings.
“It’s been an incredible run, I don’t know what to say. I’m speechless. It probably won’t set in until later, yet it is a fabulous feeling.”
Tiger Woods closed with a 67 but finished even par and was tied for 22nd. Woods had come into the week ranked No. 1 in points, one spot ahead of Stenson, yet was unable to fire during the season ender to take the FedEx crown.