Ice man Stenson overcomes nerves to retain Dubai title
By Matt Smith
DUBAI (Reuters) - Defending champion Henrik Stenson retained the $8 million DP World Tour Championship on Sunday, carding a final-round 70 to finish two shots clear and cement his status as Europe’s number two golfer.
Overnight leaders Stenson and Rafael Cabrera-Bello started the day on 14-under, three strokes clear of England’s Justin Rose, with four players including world number one Rory McIlroy a stroke further back.
As the turn approached, Swede Stenson and Spaniard Cabrera-Bello were a further stroke ahead and they seemed set for a straight shootout before nerves got the better of them.
Stenson bogeyed the eighth and dropped two more shots at the 11th after shanking an iron out of bounds as Cabrera-Bello, ranked 104th in the world, led with three holes to play despite a 12th hole bogey.
“I'm exhausted,” Stenson told reporters. “On the back nine I didn't play my best. I had a shocking hole 11. That kind of put me back.”
Cabrera-Bello's golf veers between brilliant – his second round 64 was the tournament’s best - and lamentable. The latter trait became apparent as he found water at 16 and 17, dropping four shots on another sweltering desert day.
McIlroy and Rose, almost unnoticed, had closed to 14-under to tie with Stenson.
Rose, 34, made up six shots in nine holes on Stenson and Cabrera-Bello as the former U.S. Open champion birdied 14-16, while McIlroy sunk four birdies to be back in contention for a title he appeared to have thrown away with successive double bogeys on Saturday. Continued...