Henrik Stenson held on for a one-shot win at the Wyndham Championship, but it certainly wasn’t easy.
Stenson used a run of back-nine birdies to take the lead, but he was pushed to the limit by Ollie Schniederjans as the former Georgia Tech standout sought his first win. But after getting up and down from behind the green, Stenson finished off a final-round 64 to barely avoid a playoff.
At 22 under, Stenson set a new tournament scoring record at Sedgefield Country Club. He also got his first worldwide win since The Open last summer at Royal Troon, and his first win on U.S. soil since the 2013 Tour Championship.
“If you want to win golf tournaments, you’ve got to put yourself in the mix and I’m just very happy with the way I closed out this week,” Stenson told reporters. “Really had to keep on producing, making birdies because Ollie was surely not backing down and there were a few other guys pushing me as well. Happy to be the one coming out on top.”
Stenson grabbed the lead with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 15th, then he and Schniederjans started trading blows. Makes from the 24-year-old on Nos. 17 and 18 were answered by Stenson, who curled in a 10-footer on No. 16 and added a 27-foot make from across the green on No. 17 that provided the final margin.
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Stenson originally added this event simply to ensure he’d make the 15-start minimum requirement to keep his card, since he wasn’t yet assured of a spot in the 70-man BMW Championship. With his victory in Greensboro, Stenson will now start the playoffs at No. 23 in the points race with a great shot at advancing all the way to the 30-man finale at East Lake.
“It’s funny how it goes,” he said. “Sometimes it’s just a coincidence why you decide to go to a tournament and make a change in your schedule, and this time it certainly worked out for a lot of good.”
Stenson’s prior record at Sedgefield was remarkably sparse. He had missed the cut in 2010 and 2011, and had withdrawn because of the flu in 2012. But the course proved no match for him this week, as he carded four straight rounds of 66 or better all without the use of a driver, which he took out of the bag to start the week.