Sport

Hero World Challenge | Stenson fights off Rahm’s challenge; Woods fourth

Holding firm: Hero World Challenge host Tiger Woods and Hero MotoCorp Chairman Pawan Munjal present the winner’s trophy to Henrik Stenson on Saturday.

Holding firm: Hero World Challenge host Tiger Woods and Hero MotoCorp Chairman Pawan Munjal present the winner’s trophy to Henrik Stenson on Saturday.  

Comes up with a spectacular 259-yard approach shot to within inches of the pin in the 15th hole

Henrik Stenson delivered under pressure to clinch the Hero World Challenge title at Albany Golf Course here on Saturday. Stenson (18-under overall) held firm despite a late surge from Spain’s Jon Rahm, who eventually finished one stroke behind the champion.

Tournament host Tiger Woods carded a disappointing three-under 69 to take the fourth spot.

This was Stenson’s first title since the 2017 Wyndham Championship. The 43-year-old Swede took home the winner’s cheque of $1 million.

Stenson made the big move with an eagle on the par-5 15th hole, crushing a spectacular 259-yard approach shot to within inches of the pin. He then kept his cool and completed the task by making par in the last three holes.

“Walking down the 16th, I saw that Jon had finished 17-under, so I knew that three pars would most likely close the deal,” he said.

Relieved

Stenson was relieved to get his hands on the trophy, after a sustained period of poor results and injuries.

“I just haven’t played to more than probably 75% of my capacity in the last couple of years. This is good gratification for the patience and hard work that we’ve done,” he said.

Defending champion Rahm, meanwhile, put himself into contention with a birdie-eagle-birdie run between the 14th and 16th. He could only manage pars in the next two holes, and narrowly missed out. Any disappointment is unlikely to last for long as Rahm is set to get married in a few days.

Woods raised hopes by taking the sole lead after making birdie on the seventh, but a bogey on the 14th derailed his run.

“I blocked a couple of putts today (hitting a putt right of intended starting-line), and I can’t stand that feeling. I’d much rather hook the hell out of a putt than hit some kind of block,” Woods said.

He will now make the long journey to Melbourne to captain the USA team in the President’s Cup.

Contribution to ONE Bahamas Fund

As part of ongoing relief efforts following Hurricane Dorian, the Hero World Challenge contributed $184,500 to the ONE Bahamas Fund. The tournament made a donation of $500 for each birdie, $1,000 for each eagle and $2,500 for each hole-in-one made by the 18 professional golfers in the field.

The scores:

270: Henrik Stenson (69, 67, 68, 66); 271: Jon Rahm (70, 66,69,66); 272: Patrick Reed (66, 66, 74, 66); 274: Tiger Woods (72, 66, 67, 69); 275: Justin Rose (69, 70, 71, 65), Justin Thomas (69, 69, 67, 70).

(The writer is in Nassau on invitation from Hero MotoCorp)

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 4:12:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/stenson-fights-off-rahms-challenge-woods-fourth/article30237909.ece

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