Stenson determined to hold off Willett's challenge as he eyes European No 1 prize

Open champion Henrik Stenson believes it will be one of the best achievements of his career if he can finish a memorable season as European No 1 for the second time.

Sheffield's Danny Willett.

Stenson claimed his first major title in record-breaking fashion at Royal Troon in July, equalling the lowest score in major history in the final round to edge out Phil Mickelson in a thrilling duel.

Another head-to-head battle saw Stenson win a silver medal behind Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose in Rio as golf returned to the Olympics for the first time in 112 years.

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But the 40-year-old Swede insists winning a second Race to Dubai title will rank among those historic successes if he can hold off rivals Danny Willett, Alex Noren and Rory McIlroy.

“It would be one of my finest achievements,” Stenson said ahead of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. “It was pretty sweet to be here as Europe’s No 1 in 2013 and I don’t think it would be any less sweet being here as No 1 in 2016 with the season that I’ve had.”

Stenson, who has a lead of 299,675 points over Sheffield’s Masters champion Willett, joked he would certainly be trying harder than last year, when an opening round of 77 effectively ended his chances of a third straight victory.

“I had to stand on my head to see myself on top of the leaderboard,” added Stenson.