Tue, Feb 06, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Sweden's Henrik Stenson putts way to Dubai win

AFP , DUBAI

Henrik Stenson of Sweden receives the 2007 Dubai Desert Classic trophy from Mohammad al-Abbar, after his one-stroke win over Ernie Els, at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai on Sunday.

PHOTO: EPA

Ryder Cup hero Henrik Stenson sank a difficult 3m putt to trump both Ernie Els and Tiger Woods in winning the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday.

The 30-year-old Swede, who also holed the winning putt against the US in Ireland last September, was the steadiest among the leaders on a day when a warm desert wind whipped up sand and dust.

He came in with a four-under 68 for a 19-under total of 269 and a one-stroke victory over Els, who started the day in the lead two shots ahead of the Swede but lost vital ground with three bogeys in the first six holes.

Defending champion Woods finished a stroke further adrift.

Back-to-back bogeys after the turn made his chase of the leaders almost impossible. He did manage three straight birdies beginning on the 12th, but it was all too late as he came in with a 69.

Level with Woods in joint third place came Sweden's Niclas Fasth who closed with a 68. The revelation of the week, 26-year-old Englishman Ross Fisher, finished alone in fifth at 16-under after coming in with a 71.

Stenson, with Nick Faldo's former caddy Fanny Suneson carrying the bag, reached the par-five 18th with a one stroke lead over Els. He laid up in two while an attack-minded Els hit over the water to the back of the green.

The Dubai-based Swede hit a wonderful approach over the water to 3.3m and sunk the winning putt confidently with Els just 1.3m feet away.

"I fought hard all week and to beat Ernie by one. It feels awesome," Stenson said.

"I hit a pretty good approach and I could not have left myself a better putt than that one," he said.

"Living down here in Dubai and having my friends and family with me this week is something special," he said.

Stenson's win will take him close to breaking into the world top 10 for the first time after finishing sixth in the European PGA Tour Order of Merit last season.

Three-time winner Els can take consolation from his form in a season when he has vowed to once again start challenging Woods in the majors after 18 months of injury woes brought on by damaged knee ligaments.

Woods came close to winning outside of the US for the third time in his last three tournaments after China and Japan late last year.

India's Jyoti Randhawa, who had been lying joint second, struggling at times in the gusting wind on the way to a three-over 74.

Thailand's Prom Meesawat showed his potential with a final-round 71 to finish level at 13-under alongside Randhawa.

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