Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Henrik Stenson steady in winning PGA Tour's Players Championship

Henrik Stenson celebrates on the 18th hole with daughter Lisa after finishing his round of bogey-free 6-under 66.

Getty Images

Henrik Stenson celebrates on the 18th hole with daughter Lisa after finishing his round of bogey-free 6-under 66.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH — Henrik Stenson was famous for reasons he never imagined.

Two months ago, he was best known as the Swede who stripped down to nothing but his underwear and a golf glove while playing from a water hazard at Doral. Out of curiosity, he searched the Internet and found 143 articles, more news than he ever got for his game.

"I guess I got as much attention off that thing as from my results the last 10 years," he said.

But on Sunday, his golf was all the rage at the Players Championship.

With a near-perfect final round, Stenson was the only player to stay bogey-free on his way to 6-under 66. That gave him a four-shot victory, the 10th of his career and by far his biggest.

"This is obviously going to be the latest thing on the resume," said Stenson, who finished at 12-under 276.

Coming into the day trailing by five shots on the treacherous TPC Sawgrass course, Stenson took advantage of a swift and shocking collapse by Alex Cejka, never had to worry about Tiger Woods and blew away everyone else in firm, fast conditions rarely seen this side of a major.

"I was thinking that if I could finish in front of Tiger, that might be good enough," said Ian Poulter, who shot 70 to finish second, four shots back. "But I wasn't expecting someone to go out there and shoot 66."

Cejka faded quickly with 42 on the front nine and wound up with 79.

Focus quickly shifted to Woods and whether he could rally to win from five shots behind as he did at Bay Hill. Not this time. He missed three fairways that led to bogeys on the front nine and trailed by as many as eight on the back nine.

"When you're playing a golf course like this and you don't have it, and the greens are this fast and this hard, you can shoot some pretty high numbers," he said.

Woods managed 73 to finish eighth, his first top 10 at TPC since he won in 2001 and his 16th consecutive top 10 in stroke-play events worldwide.

Stenson played so well that he had a four-shot lead at the 17th tee, his only mission to make sure his tee shot to the island green found grass beneath it. It did. And he kept his bogey-free round intact to the end, walking off the 18th green with his daughter in his arms.

"It's just going to give me a lot of confidence to go out there and control myself and play as well as I did on the last day at TPC Sawgrass and to hold off such a strong field," he said. "It's just going to give me a lot of confidence going into the majors. Obviously, if I can play as well as I did (Sunday), I surely can do it on a Sunday at the majors."

Stenson earned $1.71 million for a victory that moves him to No. 5 in the world rankings.

Stenson's other U.S. victory came at the Accenture Match Play Championship two years ago against the top 64 players in the world. He also won in Dubai, beating Woods by two shots.

John Mallinger (70) and Kevin Na (70) tied for third. They were among a dozen players who had hopes of winning on the back nine, one of the most unpredictable stretches in golf.

Players Championship

leaders 1 2 3 4to par

Henrik Stenson 68 69 73 66 -12

Ian Poulter 67 68 75 70 -8

John Mallinger 66 71 74 70 -7

Kevin Na 71 66 74 70 -7

Ben Crane 65 73 72 72 -6

Brian Davis 71 69 71 71 -6

Jim Furyk 68 74 71 69 -6


Tiger Woods 71 69 70 73 -5

Alex Cejka 66 67 72 79 -4

Vijay Singh 71 72 74 67 -4


Tiger Woods, above, failed to make a move, shooting 73, while playing partner Alex Cejka was in a free fall. 3C

A tale of two rounds

At the start of play Sunday, Alex Cejka led by five over six players including Henrik Stenson. The fourth round was vastly different:


Henrik Stenson steady in winning PGA Tour's Players Championship 05/10/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 11, 2009 4:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NFL owners' unity with players might be short-lived


    The image was striking — several owners of NFL teams locking arms with their players on the sidelines Sunday, and the Cowboys' Jerry Jones on Monday night, in a dramatic statement of defiance to a president who ridiculed their sport and condemned players for refusing to stand during the national anthem as a …

    Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, currently without a team, has cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for not standing during the national anthem. [Associated Press]
  2. Anthem protest, the latest: Jerry Jones joins Cowboys on field in show of solidarity


    As President Donald Trump continued tweeting Monday about his displeasure with NFL players for staging demonstrations during the national anthem, the Cowboys took a knee on the field just before the anthem was performed on Monday Night Football. Dallas players were joined by owner Jerry Jones, and they quickly …

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, center, joins the team in taking a knee before the national anthem Monday night. They stood and linked arms for the anthem.
  3. Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says players who kneel have team's support


    TAMPA — Receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson were the only Bucs players kneeling during the national anthem before Sunday's game against the Vikings, but DT Gerald McCoy said the team supports their protest "100 percent."

    Bucs tight end Cameron Brate pulls in a touchdown catch as Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo (34) hits him in the back of the head.
  4. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  5. Luke Del Rio regains UF starting job, for now


    GAINESVILLE — Luke Del Rio is once again the starting quarterback for No. 21 Florida.

    Luke Del Rio provided a needed spark when he replaced starter Feleipe Franks and rallied Florida past Kentucky.