Stenson holds firm to shake off runner-up tag


Henrik Stenson put the disappointment of the past two years behind him to clinch victory by three shots at the BMW International Open.

Last year, the Swede finished in second, one stroke behind Pablo Larrazabal and in 2014 he had been beaten by Fabrizio Zanotti in a four-way play-off.

But those near misses were forgotten in Pulheim on Sunday as Stenson carded a final-round 71 for his second title, having triumphed back in 2006.

Stenson finished comfortably clear of Darren Fichardt and Thorbjorn Olesen, who were both 14-under, while his playing partners Raphael Jacquelin and Kiradech Aphibarnrat were 11 and 10-under respectively.

Heavy rain had caused most of Saturday's play to be washed out, meaning Stenson faced 36 holes on the final day, but the world number seven was not fazed.

His third round was a blemish-free five-under, although his final 18 holes were a little less consistent.

The good work of birdies at one and five was undone by three bogeys on the front nine, and another dropped shot at the 10th set him back further.

But Stenson found his best form when it mattered most, picking up shots at the 13th, 15th and 17th to pull away from his rivals and clinch a 10th European Tour triumph.

"I'm delighted, I came close here the last two years so I finally get my hands on it again," Stenson said.

"It was hairy all the way, it was a tough one. I had to dig deep to come back. I didn't play well on the front nine, made a couple of mistakes, got caught out by the wind a few times and missed one or two putts I should have made as well.

"I felt like I was starting to make a bit of a mess of it and then I came back and made the birdies on the par fives. I made some good putts closing out.

"I really feel like I played well in 2015 and I just couldn't get a trophy. It was a bit hard at times but you've just got to keep on trying and put yourself in position. I did that once again and this time I managed to go all the way."