Dubai, United Arab Emirates (SportsNetwork.com) - Henrik Stenson birdied the final two holes on Sunday en route to repeating as champion at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
Stenson closed with a 2-under 70 in the final round to end at 16-under-par 272. Stenson's 70 broke his string of 12 consecutive rounds in the 60s on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. The win was Stenson's ninth on the European Tour.
"I'm delighted with the day of course and the week," said Stenson. "It's sweet to go on a break with this win. It was a winless season, but still a good one. This was the icing on the cake."
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy nearly rallied to victory. He posted a 4-under 68 to end in a tie for second at minus-14. McIlroy was joined there by Justin Rose (69) and Victor Dubuisson (68).
"The day started a little slowly, but I sort of got it going on the back nine, but Henrik deserved it the way he played the last few holes," McIlroy said. "I didn't have my best stuff this week, but I'm proud of myself that I still gave myself a chance to win the tournament."
Shane Lowry matched the low round of the day with his 6-under 66. That helped him grab fifth place at 13-under-par 275.
Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen matched Lowry's 66 to move into a tie for sixth at minus-12. Oosthuizen was joined there by Robert Karlsson (69) and Tyrell Hatton (70).
Stenson got his round going with a birdie on the second. He dropped his approach shot inside five feet at the fifth and converted that birdie effort to move to 16-under.
The Swede got up and down for birdie on the par-5 seventh. Stenson was one clear of his partner, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, at that point.
However, Stenson 3-putted for bogey on the eighth to slip into a share of the lead. Cabrera-Bello had three birdies and a bogey on the front nine to make the turn at minus-16.
Stenson hit his tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 11th and that led to a double-bogey. Cabrera-Bello was suddenly in control of the tournament, but trouble loomed.
"It was a horrible shot and a horrible club selection really. One of the worst shots I've hit for a long, long time and I hit it out of bounds," Stenson stated. "After that, I had to dig deep and I came back with a good par save on 12 to stay in it."
Cabrera-Bello found a greenside bunker at the 12th and he failed to get up and down for par. Cabrera-Bello remained one shot ahead as he parred three in a row from the 13th.
The Spaniard's second at the 16th trickled inside a hazard line, but he had a shot. The 2012 Dubai Desert Classic winner blasted that shot over the green and into the water.
That led to a double-bogey, which dropped Cabrera-Bello from the lead. He fell further down the leaderboard with another double-bogey at 17, where he again found water.
Stenson, who parred five in a row from the 12th, was now tied for the lead with Rose and McIlroy. Rose birdied three in a row from the 14th to get to minus-14, but he parred the final two holes to end there.
McIlroy, the 2012 winner, birdied the 14th and 15th to join Rose at 14-under. At the par-5 closing hole, McIlroy's tee shot caromed off a rock and into the middle of the fairway. He hit the grandstands with his approach shot and would walk off with his third par in a row.
That left it to Stenson. He stuffed his tee shot at the par-3 17th within two feet and he kicked that in for birdie and a 1-shot lead. Stenson closed the tournament in style as he drained a 6-foot birdie putt for the 2-shot win.
"It was good numbers for me. It was about 205, 210 yards into the wind and I played a nice 5-iron, and the outcome was perfect," Stenson explained of his tee shot at 17. "That set me up for 18 where I needed a 5 to win it, but I managed to trickle in a 4 in."
Dubuisson needed an eagle at the last to possibly force a playoff. His bunker shot got within a foot of the hole, but it spun back away from the cup.
NOTES: Stenson earned 1,666,600 euros for the win ... This marked the first time in Stenson's career that he has won three straight years on the European Tour ... Stenson joined Charl Schwartzel, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Oosthuizen, Stephen Gallacher and Graeme McDowell as the six players that successfully defended a title on the European Tour this season.