Henrik Stenson was at his best as he toppled Lee Westwood in an intense ‘Hero Challenge’, under the lights, at the Atlantis, The Palm, in Dubai.
Stenson, who received the winner’s trophy from Pawan Munjal, Chairman, MD and CEO, Hero MotoCorp, thwarted Westwood’s attempt to become the first player to win the ‘Hero Challenge’ more than once. In the process, the Swede, who spends a lot of his time in Dubai, became the seventh new winner of the ‘Hero Challenge’, which has now been held seven times in three years, beginning in 2016. Westwood won the ‘Hero Challenge’ at the 2017 British Masters in Newcastle.
Hero MotoCorp Ltd - the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer – introduced the Hero Challenge at the British Masters in 2016. The Company reaffirmed its commitment to innovation on the European Tour by extending the Hero Challenge by another three years and to three marquee events – the British Masters, Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
Since its inaugural edition, the innovative one-hole-knockout night Golf event has become very popular with players and spectators alike. The Hero Challenge is hosted at some spectacular golf courses on the European Tour and has been evolving to become bigger and better with each edition, and attracting young fans to the sport.
The Indo-English duo of Shubhankar Sharma and Tommy Fleetwood, who failed to reach the final, beat Thomas Bjorn and Patrick Reed in a contest that required the players to answer a question correctly to get a shot at the floating green.
Stenson, the winner of The Open, was in sizzling form from the word go and topped Group One with 190 points. In the final, Stenson found the floating target with each of his five shots to comprehensively beat Westwood 105-85.
Interestingly, Westwood could have turned the event in his favour as his fourth shot hit the pin and unfortunately, rolled into the five-point zone.
Earlier, Westwood started the proceedings with 100 points in his allotted 60 seconds, while Fleetwood managed 95 and India's Shubhankar Sharma fathered only 50 points. As Sharma was knocked out, Westwood and Fleetwood moved into semifinals.
In the other group, Europe’s Ryder Cup winning captain Thomas Bjorn opened with 130 points but Stenson racked up 190 before Masters Tournament winner Patrick Reed collected 135, eliminating Bjorn.
In the first semifinal, both Westwood and Reed scored 55 points and the tiebreaker, which was a nearest-to-the-pin shot, saw the Englishman send his ball closer to progress to the final. In the other semifinal, Stenson edged out Fleetwood 135-125.
In the final, Stenson scored 25 points with three of his first four balls and got 10 with the other to open up a 50-point lead before both players got their final hit, which was worth double points.
The Swede landed his ball in the 10-point zone for 20 points to get his total to 105, so Westwood, then at 35, needed to find the 50-point zone and get double points to beat Stenson, but he failed to do so managing only to find the 25-point zone to finish a close second.
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