‘The best on the planet’

Stenson wins praise from rivals after turnaround from 230 in world two years ago to top of the European money list.

Swede lips: Stenson kisses the end-of-season trophy after strolling to victory in Dubai [AP]

Ian Poulter dubbed Henrik Stenson the “best golfer on the planet” after the Swede went from a ranking place of 230 two years ago to winning the Race to Dubai.

The 37-year-old capped a brilliant year on Sunday, winning the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in record fashion and also becoming the new European number one.

The Swede shot a stunning round of eight-under par 64 in blustery conditions on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates, for a four-day total of 25-under par 263.

That beat the previous lowest tournament total by two shots, and matched the largest victory margin by Lee Westwood in 2009.

England’s Poulter shot a second consecutive six-under par 66 to finish second on 19-under par 269, while France’s Victor Dubuisson could not get on a birdie run on the final day and finished third at 17-under par 271 following a round of 71.

Poulter, who was seen waving a white towel to Stenson on the 18th green having lost their personal bet with regards to winning the Race to Dubai, said: “He’s beaten me fair and square… I don’t know what juice he’s drinking at the moment but I want some of that.

“He’s in phenomenal form and you have to respect it. He has had to work incredibly hard to get where he was to a position he’s in today. It’s really impressive. I’m very pleased for him. You are witnessing the best golfer on the planet, for sure.”

For Stenson, it amounted to a double-double. He had earlier won the Tour Championship in Atlanta on the PGA Tour and the FedEx Cup, and he achieved similar results in the European Tour as well.

He will remain the world number three despite the win, but he will close the gap on number two Adam Scott, who is one place behind Tiger Woods and who won back-to-back events on the Australian PGA Tour by winning the Australian Masters earlier Sunday.

Stenson finished the round, and the tournament in great style, hitting a five-wood on the par-5 18th hole to a foot for an eagle.

And in between, he hit what he called the “shot of the year”, a 5-iron second shot into the wind on the tough par-4 12th hole to a foot for a birdie.

“It takes a little time to sink in, same as it was with the FedEx Cup. The feeling gets better and better as time goes on,” said Stenson, who won his third tournament of the year and for the eighth time on the European Tour.

“To get the double-double of winning the Tour Championship of both the Tours and the total, that’s going to take some beating in the future.

“Just very, very pleased with the way I played. I knew it was going to be a tough week, knew the guys would try to keep on charging to try and catch me, so very happy the way I managed may way around the course these four days.”

Dutchman Joost Luiten was alone in fourth place at 16-under par 272, while three former world number ones and Race to Dubai champions – Lee Westwood (68), Luke Donald (67) and Rory McIlroy (67) – were tied for fifth place at 272.

Source: AFP