Stenson’s eagle-eye seals Bahamas victory

MIAMI (AFP) – Sweden’s Henrik Stenson snatched a dramatic victory at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas last Saturday, conjuring a late eagle to win by one shot ahead of Spain’s Jon Rahm.

Stenson, who started the day one off the lead, carded a six-under-par 66 to finish on 18 under with a four-round aggregate 270 at Albany Golf Club in New Providence.

Stenson’s win came after a brilliant eagle three on the par-five 15th, the 43-year-old nailing his second from the fairway to within a few inches for the easiest of tap-ins.

The eagle gave Stenson the lead after earlier birdies on the 10th and 13th holes followed a bogey six on the ninth.

“Obviously the shot of the day was that five-wood to a couple of inches on 15, so I was very pleased about that,” said Stenson, who hasn’t won on either the European Tour or PGA tour since the Wyndham Championship in August of 2017.

Although the Tiger Woods-hosted Hero World Challenge isn’t an official PGA Tour tournament, it does offer world ranking points that will provide a boost to former number two Stenson, who was ranked 40th coming into the week.

Rahm, who had started the day one shot off of Stenson, carded a six-under-par 66.

The Spaniard had also entered the reckoning for the title after a strong finish which included a birdie-eagle-birdie sequence on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes. Rahm finished on 17 under.

Henrik Stenson of Sweden poses with the trophy after winning the Hero World Challenge. PHOTO: AFP

Patrick Reed meanwhile bounced back from his controversial third round display – when he was slapped with a two-shot penalty for improving his lie – to finish with a closing 66.

Reed reeled off five birdies and four pars over the back nine to reignite his challenge, eventually finishing third on 16 under, two off the lead.

Tournament host Tiger Woods meanwhile was unable to mount a decisive final round charge, posting a three-under-par 69 to end in fourth place on 14 under.

Woods looked poised for a strong challenge after reaching the turn at three under after three birdies and no bogeys. But although he picked up a fourth birdie on the 11th, a bogey on the 14th stymied his challenge and he was unable to carve out any more chances.

England’s Justin Rose and Justin Thomas finished tied for fifth place on 13 under. Rose moved up the leaderboard after a roller coaster round which included nine birdies and two bogeys for a seven-under-par 65.

But there was disappointment for overnight leader Gary Woodland.

US Open champion Woodland’s challenge wilted after a disastrous start which saw him four over after four holes, following a bogey on the second, a double-bogey seven on the par-five third and a bogey on the fourth.

Although Woodland rattled off five birdies after the turn, two bogeys left him with a one-over-par 73 on 12 under, six behind Stenson.