Henrik Stenson wins World Challenge as Tiger Woods fades to fourth
Swede almost makes an albatross on the 15th hole on his way to first win in more than two years
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson kisses the trophy after winning the Hero World Challenge at Albany in Nassau, Bahamas. Photograph: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Henrik Stenson almost made albatross at the 15th hole en route to a one-shot victory over Jon Rahm at the Hero World Challenge on Saturday as tournament host Tiger Woods faded down the stretch in the Bahamas.
Swede Stenson hit a mighty approach shot from 260 yards that almost trickled in at the par five, and the tap-in eagle gave him the sole lead from fast-finishing Rahm.
Stenson held his nerve down the stretch with three straight pars, carding a six-under-par 66 at Albany Golf Club on the island of New Providence.
“I made some crucial par-saves on 11 and 14 and obviously shot of the day was that five-wood to a couple of inches on 15,” Stenson said in a greenside interview after finishing at 18-under 270.
Stenson’s first victory in more than two years will be unofficial for record purposes on the PGA Tour due to the small 18-man field.
Defending champion Rahm, who also eagled the 15th, albeit with a 30-foot putt, shot 66 for second place.
Patrick Reed was third after also closing with a 66, his tournament chances undone by the two-shot penalty he suffered in the third round for improving his lie.
Woods was tied for the lead with five holes left but hit three poor shots in a row en route to a bogey at the 14th hole and was never a threat thereafter.
With a 69, he finished four shots back in fourth place in a final competitive sortie before leading the American team as a playing captain at the Presidents Cup in Australia next week.
Stenson, the 2016 British Open champion, had endured a mediocre year but turned his game around with a help of coach Pete Cowan after a disappointing performance in Dubai two weeks ago.
“I came in with a better feeling,” said the 43-year-old. “Still, confidence can be a little higher at times [but] I’m really happy with the way I hung in there on the back nine.”
He had dipped to 40th in the world.
“I’d been top-10 in the world for five or six years straight, so that’s where we want to be and I feel like when I’m playing to my potential I can certainly compete with the best,” he said.
(USA unless stated, par 72):
270 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 69 67 68 66
271 Jon Rahm (Esp) 70 66 69 66
272 Patrick Reed 66 66 74 66
274 Tiger Woods 72 66 67 69
275 Justin Thomas 69 69 67 70, Justin Rose (Eng) 69 70 71 65
276 Gary Woodland 66 69 68 73, Kevin Kisner 71 70 70 65
278 Rickie Fowler 69 69 72 68
281 Tony Finau 79 68 69 65, Xander Schauffele 73 70 70 68, Webb Simpson 73 68 71 69
283 Chez Reavie 68 73 69 73
284 Matt Kuchar 71 70 70 73
285 Bryson DeChambeau 76 71 70 68
286 Jordan Spieth 75 70 69 72
288 Patrick Cantlay 74 72 71 71
289 Bubba Watson 72 73 71 73