Stenson wins Hero World Challenge by oneTournament host Woods finishes in fourth place, four shots off the pace in the Bahamas
December 07, 2019
By The Associated Press
- December 07, 2019
Henrik Stenson's approach sets up tap-in eagle on No. 15 at Hero
NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) -- Henrik Stenson delivered the biggest shot on a back nine filled with them, a 5-wood within inches on the 15th hole for eagle that carried him to a 6-under 66 and a one-shot victory Saturday in the Hero World Challenge.
Tournament host Tiger Woods was among five players who had a chance to win on the back nine, four of them with at least a share of the lead at some point at Albany Golf Club.
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Woods fell out with a chip that didn't make it up the slope on the 14th hole, and he had to scramble for bogey. Justin Thomas had a pair of 12-foot birdie putts burn the edge. Defending champion Jon Rahm, in his final event before getting married in Spain, appeared to seize control with a birdie-eagle-birdie stretch to take the lead.
And then Stenson struck the decisive blow.
From 259 yards away on the par-5 15th hole, he hammered 5-wood and couldn't see beyond a dune as it bounced onto the green, tracked toward the hole and settled about 8 inches away for a tap-in eagle.
That took him from one shot behind to one shot ahead, and he closed with three pars. Rahm had to settle for two pars to close out his 66.
Stenson won for the first time in 50 tournaments worldwide, a drought dating to the Wyndham Championship in August 2017. His world ranking plunged from No. 6 to No. 40. But after wrapping up the European Tour season in Dubai last week, he worked with swing coach Pete Cowen and took some momentum to the Bahamas.
Patrick Reed, who took a two-shot penalty on Friday after a Rules violation, shook that off for a 66 to finish alone in third.
Woods hasn't won his holiday event since 2011, and he put himself in position with timely birdies while playing alongside Thomas. It looked like quite a battle with Woods setting the pace early, and Thomas catching and passing him with an 8-foot eagle putt on the 11th hole.
But that was as good as it got for both of them.
Woods tried to drive the par-4 14th hole and wound up in the waste area with a bad lie. He sent that over the green, and his chip up the slope wasn't hard enough and came back down the hill. His fourth shot barely made it onto the green and he holed a 15-foot putt to escape with bogey.
But he spent more time in the waste area on the par-5 15th and had to scramble for par, and that was the end of his chances. Woods closed with a 69.
The only victory -- a hollow one -- was finishing with a lower score than Thomas for the first time in some 15 pairings together. Even that required a double bogey by Thomas on the last hole, giving him a 70.
"I don't think that's how we wanted it to end up," Woods aid with a laugh. "If I was going to get him, it would have been nice for either of us to have a chance to win the tournament."
U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland, who started the final round with a one-shot lead, ran into trouble chipping up the slope on the par-5 third hole and made double bogey. He never recovered, shot 73 and tied for seventh.
The Hero World Challenge was just the first stop for 11 of the Americans in the field.
They had a few hours to get changed for a charter flight from the Bahamas to Australia for the Presidents Cup, which starts Thursday with Woods as the first playing captain in 25 years.
Stenson wants to patch back his game, and this was a big step. After five straight years in the top 10, the 43-year-old Swede is eager to get back.
"It's down, but it's not a disaster," Stenson said of his ranking. "I can compete with the best, and I guess I showed that."