Swede Stenson wins ‘fifth major’ at Sawgrass

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson absorbed all the pressure thrown his way as he strolled to a four-stroke victory at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

With Tiger Woods failing to pose a challenge on the final day, Stenson closed with a six-under-par 66 for a 12-under total of 276 in what is regarded by many pros as the fifth major tournament.

England’s Ian Poulter was alone on second place on 280 after his 70 while Americans John Mallinger and Kevin Na bothh scored 70s to share third place on 281.

Jim Furyk (69), Brian Davis (71) and Ben Crane (72) were tied for fifth on 282 as Tiger settled for eighth place 283 after his 73, having had a share of second place overnight.

For Stenton, it was his second title on the PGA Tour since 2007 WGC World Matchplay Championship. He also became the second straight European ton win the TPC following Sergio Garcia’s triumph in 2008.

Stenton said his ability to stay calm throughout the tournament was key to his victory. He was quoted as saying in a Reuters article:

“It is a great feeling to have won this championship on a golf course I really enjoy playing. I just handled myself very well throughout these four days, putted well and gave myself plenty of chances and stayed very level-headed.”

After the third round, Woods was five strokes behind overnight leader Alex Cejka, who crashed out of contention with a final round of seven over 79.

Like many of his fellow strugglers, Woods found the hard and fast greens difficult to read and also was unable to control his drives, hitting only six of 14 fairways. He said:

“I just kept hitting those spinners up to the right and it was frustrating because if I am down the right side, I’d spin to the right, aim down the left side, spin it to the right.”

Poulter showed great character to fight back and earn second place but it was his 75 in the third round that meant he was unable to challenge for the title.

On the European Tour, Argentina’s Daniel Vancsik shot a six-under-par 67 for a total of 267 and a six-stroke victory at the Italian Open.

While the day belonged to Vancsik, he was forced to share the limelight with Amerian showman John Daly, who showed that he still has much to offer the game as he earned a share of second place.

Daly’s late charge, which featured four birdies on the back nine, saw him finish with 66 for a total of 273 alongside Raphael Jacquelin and Robert Rock.

The former US PGA Championship and British Open winner, now 43, is trying to make a comeback to the professional circuit on the European Tour.

Vancsik recorded eight birdies and two bogeys on his final round for his 17 under score and his second tour title, having won the Madeira Islands Open in 2007.

Meanwhile, Cristie Kerr scored a one-under-par 70 to win the Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill and become the first two-time winner of the LPGA Tour event in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Kerr’s total of 16-under 268 was two strokes better than Korean Kim In-kyung, who shot 71.

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