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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2006 > European Tour > Qatar Masters > Round 4


Henrik Stenson gains wire to wire victory

Sweden 's Henrik Stenson earned sweet redemption when he claimed the Commercialbank Qatar Masters title by three strokes with a master-class performance on Sunday.

The talented Swede tamed swirling winds at Doha Golf Club to shoot a final round four-under-par 68 and beat playing partner Paul Broadhurst of England, who signed off with a 70, in the US$2 million event co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.

In claiming a third European victory with a 15-under-par 273 aggregate, Stenson , the first wire-to-wire winner in Qatar , laid the ghost of 2005 to rest. Ten months ago, he was pipped at the post by South African star Ernie Els , who finished tied 13th after a 72 left him a massive 10 shots back.

Asia 's best performer was Thailand 's Thammanoon Srirot , who claimed a share of 15th place after battling to a 73 for a 284 total. World number two Vijay Singh of Fiji wrapped up his week with a 69 for 24th position, tied with amongst others, reigning Asian number one Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand (73), compatriot Thongchai Jaidee (74) and India 's Jeev Milkha Singh (73).

"It's a good mix between happy and relief after four days, especially the last two rounds in the strong winds and tough conditions. Eventually we came out on top. I'm really happy to have won this after finishing second last year. It feels great," said Stenson , who won US$333,330.

The 29-year-old Stenson arrived in Doha in a rich vein of form after finishing second in Abu Dhabi last week and was rock steady despite the buffeting winds. Leading by one overnight, he turned in 34 to lead by two strokes but dropped his first shot of the day on 14. The cool Swede showed his class by getting the shot straight back with a six-foot birdie on 15 but Broadhurst fought doggedly with a birdie on 16.

Stenson soon regained the upperhand with a two-shot advantage on 17 when he drained a snaky 30-foot putt for birdie as Broadhurst agonisingly missed from 15 feet. "Walking up to the putt on 17 from the fringe I thought last year I had one that looked in and missed it unbelievably and I thought this hole owes me one. And I went up and rolled it in. It was kind of neat," said Stenson .

Broadhurst said Stenson was "the next special one from Europe " after watching the Swede power past him. "The best player on the day won. I was just trying to hang in there as long as I possibly could. I rallied a bit in the end, put a bit of pressure on but his 30 foot putt on 17 just killed it off really. He's got a lot of chances of winning majors and stuff, he's next in the line I think," predicted Broadhurst .

Asia 's best player was Thammanoon . The five-time winner on the Asian Tour started poorly with a double bogey on the first and a bogey on the third but battled back with five birdies, including a two-putt birdie at the last hole.

"The strong winds made it very difficult again today. I'm normally not comfortable playing when it is blowing this hard, so I'm happy to finish as the best Asian player here. We don't get these kind of winds back in Asia , probably just two or three tournaments in Taipei . Sometimes, the distance was a two club difference and what made it harder was that the wind would sometimes blow hard and then suddenly die down. So I guess Asian players need to learn to play in these conditions if we are to challenge in Qatar ," said Thammanoon .

South African star Ernie Els of South Africa was dreaming of a repeat final day charge similar to last year when he won the title by overcoming a five-stroke deficit. He started the day six off the pace on Sunday but failed to reproduce last year's magic and settled for a 72.

"Today was a tough day and I got off to an iffy start and was two over par after five holes. I battled hard to get it back to level. But I have to work on my putting. I looked at my putting stats and I'm down in the bottom half of the field, so I guess that is where my problem is this week," said Els , who was playing in his first event of the year.

South Africa's Darren Fichardt , winner in 2003, finished third on 277 after a 68 with England's Nick Dougherty, Niclas Fasth of Sweden, Argentine Ricardo Gonzalez and Rrichard Finch of England sharing fourth place on 279.



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