Major title in 2015 now on Stenson’s ‘to do’ list

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson set his sights on an elusive major championship after successfully defending a title for the first time in his career following a thrilling finish to the DP World Tour Championship.

Henrik Stenson from Sweden holds the trophy of the DP World Golf Championship as he poses for a picture after the final round of DP World Golf Championship, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. Stenson has successfully defended his DP World Tour Championship title at the European Tour's season-ending event. (AP Photo)

Stenson carded a closing 70 at Jumeirah Golf Estates to finish 16 under, two shots ahead of world No 1 Rory McIlroy and Ryder Cup team-mates Justin Rose and Victor Dubuisson.

Ireland’s Shane Lowry finished a shot further back in fifth to move into the top 50 in the world and all-but secure a Masters debut next April.

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Yorkshire’s Danny Willett, who had gone into the weekend tied in second with McIlroy, faded away over the final two days, following a round of 71 on Saturday by carding a score of 73 yesterday.

It left him eight shots off Stenson, with fellow Yorkshireman Simon Dyson finishing strongly with a 67 and 69 to finish one shot ahead of Willett.

The victory was worth more than £1.3m to Stenson thanks to the first prize of £830,000 and a bonus of £510,000 for maintaining second place in the Race to Dubai behind McIlroy – although even that paled into insignificance compared to the £7.3m he banked last year for becoming the first man to win the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai in the same season.

It also took him second in the world rankings, but the 38-year-old said: “It would be nice to have been ranked the world’s best at some point, but if I had the choice I would go for a major championship so I am going to try and be in good shape for them next year.”

Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello held a two-shot lead with seven holes to play only to bogey the 12th and run up double bogeys on the 16th and 17th after finding water on both occasions.

Stenson had also found trouble on a rollercoaster back nine, hitting his tee shot out of bounds on the 11th to gift playing partner Cabrera-Bello that two-shot advantage, but a brilliant five-iron tee shot on the par-three 17th produced a tap-in birdie to reclaim the lead.

“It feels great,” added Stenson, who finished in style with a birdie on the 18th. “I’m exhausted to say the least. It was hot out there and tricky on the back nine.”

McIlroy said: “I just did not play well enough to win this week but that’s a real positive, not just for next year but the rest of my career.”