Henrik Stenson of Sweden captured the U.S. PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup title and its $10 million bonus with a three-stroke victory at golf’s Tour Championship.
Stenson shot a 2-under-par 68 yesterday to finish with a four-round total of 13-under 267 at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, holding off challenges from the oldest and youngest players in the 30-man field: Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth. Stricker, 46, and Spieth, 20, tied at 10-under par.
Stenson, 37, is the first European player to win the FedEx Cup title in its seven-year history.
“To hang in there the way I did, I’m really satisfied,” Stenson said yesterday after receiving the trophy from PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. “It’s been a great week and obviously a great playoffs for me.”
Stenson had been ranked No. 2 behind Tiger Woods in the season-long FedEx Cup point standings entering the Tour Championship, where any of the top five could have earned the $10 million bonus with a victory in the last of four playoff events. Stenson also won the Deutsche Bank Championship -- the second playoff tournament -- on Sept. 2 for his first PGA Tour title since 2009.
While Stenson had a tie for 43rd and a tie for 33rd in the other two playoff events, he’s been among the sport’s most successful and consistent players over the past three months. He tied for third at the Scottish Open in July before a runner-up finish at the British Open. He also finished third at last month’s PGA Championship and tied for second at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
“From the British Open on, he’s basically put it together,” Woods said of Stenson. “He’s played so consistently, while at a high level. He’s hit it great, made his share of putts. He’s just been so consistent.”
In addition to the $10 million playoff bonus, Stenson received $1.44 million for winning the 30-player Tour Championship.
“It’s just been a great summer, way beyond what I could imagine,” said Stenson, who had fallen to 230th in the world after climbing as high as fourth in 2009, when he won the Players Championship. “The play that I performed here since mid-July has been incredible. It’s obviously the work that I’d done before. It wasn’t like you wake up in the middle of July and you start playing fantastic. I put the work in.”
Spieth shot a final-round 64 to tie for second place. He finished seventh in the FedEx Cup standings, the best finish by a PGA Tour rookie. The previous best FedEx Cup performance by a rookie was 20th place by Keegan Bradley in 2011, Marc Leishman in 2009 and Brandt Snedeker in 2007.
“The beginning of the year, my goal was just to get on Tour next season,” said Spieth, who won the John Deere Classic in a playoff in July and had seven other top-10 finishes this season. “I just had to readjust goals a couple different times and definitely exceeded any expectations I could have imagined starting the year.”
Stricker was third in the final FedEx Cup standings behind Stenson and Woods after closing with a 65 that included an eagle on the par-5 15th hole that got him to 10-under par.
Webb Simpson shot a 63 to finish fourth at 9 under, one shot better than Dustin Johnson. Justin Rose finished at 7-under par, while Zach Johnson and Billy Horschel were 6 under.
Woods tied for 22nd place at the Tour Championship at even-par. The No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking, Woods had rounds of 69 and 67 on the weekend after shooting a 3-over 73 in the first round and following it up with a 71.
Snedeker won the FedEx Cup title last year, following victories by fellow Americans Bill Haas, Jim Furyk and Woods the previous three years. Vijay Singh of Fiji won in 2008 after Woods claimed the inaugural title in 2007.
Stenson joined Singh as the only players to win the Tour Championship and Deutsche Bank Championship in the same season.