Henrik Stenson ends drought, wins Hero World Challenge crown

The Swede holds his nerve under pressure to win his first title since 2017. Tiger Woods finishes fourth.

Henrik Stenson (left) with Hero MotoCorp chairman Pawan Munjal and tournament host Tiger Woods. Photo: Special Arrangement

Henrik Stenson delivered under pressure to clinch the Hero World Challenge title, at Albany Golf Course here on Saturday.

Stenson (18-under overall) held firm despite a late surge from Spain’s Jon Rahm, who eventually finished one stroke behind the champion. Tournament host Tiger Woods carded a disappointing three-under 69 to take fourth spot.

This was Stenson’s first title since the 2017 Wyndham Championship. The 43-year-old Swede took home the winner’s cheque of USD 1 million.

Read | Jon Rahm: Golf in Spain is what it is thanks to Seve Ballesteros

Stenson made the big move with an eagle on the par-5 15th hole, crushing a spectacular 259-yard approach shot to within inches of the pin. He then kept his cool and completed the task by making par in the last three holes. “Walking down the 16th, I saw that Jon had finished 17-under, so I knew that three pars would most likely close the deal,” Stenson said.

‘Good gratification’

Stenson was relieved to get his hands on the trophy, after a sustained period of poor results and injuries. “I just haven’t played to more than probably 75 percent of my capacity in the last couple of years. This is good gratification for the patience and hard work that we’ve done,” he said.

THIRD ROUND REPORT

Defending champion Rahm, meanwhile, put himself into contention with a birdie-eagle-birdie run between the 14th and 16th. He could only manage pars in the next two holes, and narrowly missed out. Any disappointment is unlikely to last for long, as Rahm is set to get married in a few days.

Woods raised hopes by taking the sole lead after making birdie on the 7th, but a bogey on the 14th derailed his run. “I blocked a couple of putts today (hitting a putt right of intended starting-line), and I can’t stand that feeling. I’d much rather hook the hell out of a putt than hit some kind of block,” Woods said.

Woods will now make the long journey to Melbourne (Australia), to captain the USA team in the President’s Cup.

As part of ongoing relief efforts following Hurricane Dorian, the Hero World Challenge contributed USD 184,500 to the ONE Bahamas Fund. The tournament made a donation of USD 500 for each birdie, USD 1,000 for each eagle and USD 2,500 for each hole-in-one made by the 18 professional golfers in the field.

The scores
  • 270: Henrik Stenson (69, 67, 68, 66); 271: Jon Rahm (70, 66, 69, 66); 272: Patrick Reed (66, 66, 74, 66); 274: Tiger Woods (72, 66, 67, 69); 275: Justin Rose (69, 70, 71, 65), Justin Thomas (69, 69, 67, 70).

(The writer is in Nassau on invitation from Hero MotoCorp)

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