Stenson Finds Redemption in Qatar


2005 Qatar MastersDOHA, Qatar -- This time, Henrik Stenson would not be denied.
After giving up a lead in the final round here last year, Stenson fought off all challengers Sunday to win the Qatar Masters, shooting a 4-under 68 to finish at 15-under-par 273 for his third European Tour title.
Henrik Stenson
Henrik Stenson's win in Qatar was his third career European Tour title.
It was a different story than 2005, when the Swede dropped three shots during a two-hole stretch on the back nine to open the door for Ernie Els' win. This time around, Stenson did enough for a three-stroke victory over England's Paul Broadhurst, who shot a 2-under 70 to finish alone in second place at 12-under-par 276.
Broadhurst tied Stenson for the lead on the first hole, and was within a shot after 16, but Stenson finished birdie-birdie to close things out.
'It's a good mix between happy and relief after four days, especially the last two rounds in the strong winds and tough conditions,' said Stenson, who finished second in Abu Dhabi last week and became the first wire-to-wire winner of this event.
Darren Fichardt, the 2003 champion, closed with a 4-under 68 and ended alone in third place at 11 under par. Nick Dougherty (70), Niclas Fasth (73), Richard Finch (72) and Ricardo Gonzalez (72) were all two strokes further back in a tie for fourth place.
Els, who matched Bernhard Langer's record of consecutive cuts made on the European Tour at 69, wasn't a factor in the final round this year. He shot a 72 and ended tied for 13th place at 5 under.
Broadhurst opened the final round with a birdie to tie Stenson for the lead at 11 under. He and Stenson both birdied No. 2, but Broadhurst fell back for good when he bogeyed the fourth.
While Broadhurst went on to par 11 straight holes, Stenson rolled in a birdie putt at the par-3 eighth to make the turn with a two-shot lead at minus-13.
Stenson's lead was trimmed to one shot over Fichardt and Broadhurst when he bogeyed the par-4 14th. But the Swede got that stroke back and regained his two-shot advantage with a 6-foot birdie putt at 15, his second straight birdie at the par-4 hole.
With Fichardt in the clubhouse already, Broadhurst was left as the biggest threat to Stenson. He birdied the par-4 16th for the third straight day to get to minus-12 and within a shot.
Stenson, however, responded by rolling in a 30-foot birdie putt at the par-3 17th to again restore his two-shot lead. It was another way this final round was different than last year, when Stenson walked away from the 17th after a near-miss putt.
'I thought 'This hole owes me one,'' acknowledged Stenson. 'And I went up and rolled it in. It was kind of neat.'
For good measure, Stenson closed with a birdie at 18.
'Eventually [I] came out on top,' said Stenson. 'I'm really happy to have won this after finishing second last year. It feels great.'
Afterward, Broadhurst called Stenson 'next in line' and said he believed the Swede had what it takes to challenge for a major.
'The best player on the day won,' Broadhurst said. 'I was just trying to hang in there as long as I possibly could. I rallied a bit in the end, put a bit of pressure on, but his 30 foot putt on 17 just killed it off really.'
Graeme Storm shot a 71 and finished alone in eighth place at 8 under par. Thomas Bjorn (72), Maarten Lafeber (71), David Lynn (71) and Paul McGinley (73) were all two strokes further back in ninth.
World No. 2 Vijay Singh, who placed eighth at Abu Dhabi last week, finished in a tie for 24th place at minus-2 after a final-round 69 -- his best score of the tournament.
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