Stenson Tops Els Woods for Dubai Title

By Sports NetworkFebruary 4, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Dubai Desert ClassicDUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Five different players held at least a share of the lead during Sunday's final round of the Dubai Desert Classic before Henrik Stenson broke through the crowd.
 
Stenson moved ahead of the pack with a birdie on the par-4 14th and clinched his fifth European Tour title with a birdie on the par-5 18th.
 
The Swede closed with a 4-under 68 to finish the tournament at 19-under-par 269. Third-round leader Ernie Els, a three-time winner here, managed a 1-under 71 to end alone in second at minus-18.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods had another frustrating day on the greens and finished two back of the winner. (Wire Images)
World No. 1 and 2006 champion Tiger Woods birdied four of the final six holes to shoot 3-under 69 at Emirates Golf Club. He tied for third place with Niclas Fasth, who shot a final-round 68, at 17-under-par 271.
 
Ross Fisher, who held at least a share of the lead after the first two rounds, closed with a 71 to finish in fifth at minus-16.
 
Fisher joined Woods, Els, Fasth and Stenson as the five players who owned at least a share of the lead during the final round. However, Fisher was done in by back-to-back bogeys from the 16th.
 
Stenson, who now lives in Dubai, birdied the par-4 second for the fourth straight round and that gave him a share of the lead with Els, who bogeyed the same hole.
 
The 30-year-old Stenson remained at 16 under as he parred the next six holes. During that span, Els and Fisher pulled ahead before eventually falling behind.
 
After the last of his six straight pars, Stenson was one up on Woods, Els and Fisher. However, Stenson faltered to a bogey on nine to join those three atop the leaderboard at 15 under par.
 
Stenson birdied the 11th for the third day in a row, joining Fasth, Fisher and Els in the lead. Fisher, playing one group ahead of Stenson, birdied the 13th. Stenson also birdied 13, for the fourth straight day, to tie Fisher at 17 under.
 
From there, Stenson pulled one clear with a birdie on No. 14 and things stayed that way as he parred the next three holes. Stenson drained a 7-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th to best Els, who also birdied the last.
 
'It's unbelievable to win sort of your own tournament,' Stenson said. 'I came so close in Sweden two years ago when I lost in a playoff for the Scandinavian Masters. This is my second home, so to be able to win in front of family and friends is just unbelievable.
 
'It's always nice to beat Tiger, obviously. It's the first tournament I have won that he's been in. He is a great player, so of course that gives you extra satisfaction to beat him. To play four rounds with Ernie and to beat him by a shot coming down the stretch is the same satisfaction.'
 
Els led by three entering the round, but tumbled down the leaderboard with three bogeys in the first six holes. Birdies on seven and 10 got Els back into a tie for the top spot at 16 under with Fisher.
 
The South African moved to even-par for his round with a birdie on 14. Els birdied the last, but it was not enough to force a playoff.
 
'I knew after the start, I just wanted to give myself a chance coming down the stretch,' admitted Els. 'I really got out of sorts on the greens and had a couple of bad swings. I got myself under control after the start and then it was a real battle of who could make putts and who could hit the right shot in there. Henrik was great. One shot separated us for four days.'
 
Woods, who won his seventh straight PGA TOUR event last week, was 1-over through 11 holes with two birdies and three bogeys. He shared the lead after a birdie on the eighth, but bogeyed 10 and 11 to drop three back.
 
The 31-year-old Woods rallied on the closing nine with three consecutive birdies from the 13th to get within two at 16 under. However, Woods only managed a birdie at the last for the fourth straight day to share third.
 
'I hit it well enough to at least give myself a chance, but just did not putt well at all,' Woods said. 'I putted poorly all week, and it's frustrating because I come over here to the best greens we've seen in a long time and I miss a bunch.'
 
Fasth opened with birdies on one and two. He dropped a shot on the fourth, but climbed into the mix with a birdie on 10. Fasth moved into a tie for the lead with a birdie on 12, but managed just one more birdie the rest of the way.
 
Peter Hanson shot 1-under 71 Sunday to take sixth at 14-under-par 274. Simon Dyson, Prom Meesawat and Jyoti Randhawa were one stroke further back at minus-13.
 
Thomas Bjorn, the 2001 champion, shared 10th place at 12-under-par 276 with Robert Karlsson, Maarten Lafeber and two-time runner-up Miguel Angel Jimenez.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard
  • Full Coverage - Dubai Desert Classic
  • Getty Images

    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

    Getty Images

    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

    Getty Images

    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.