PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – 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.
His golf was all the rage Sunday at The Players Championship.
With a final round that was close to perfect, Stenson was the only player to keep bogeys off his card on his way to a 6-under-par 66 that gave him a four-shot victory at 12-under 276, the 10th win of his career and by far his biggest.
Trailing by five shots on the treacherous TPC Sawgrass, he 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 a 70 and to finish second. “But I wasn’t expecting someone to go out there and shoot 66.”
The sun-baked gallery was curious how Cejka would fare with a five-shot lead playing in the final group with Woods.
Four holes and a little more than an hour into the final round, the lead was gone. Cejka shot 42 on the front and wound up with a 79 and tied for ninth at 284.
Focus quickly shifted to Woods, and whether he could rally to win from five shots behind as he did at Bay Hill. But not this time. Woods missed three fairways that led to bogeys on the front nine, and trailed by as many as eight shots on the back nine.
Woods managed a 73 to finish eighth at 283, his first top 10 at The Players Championship 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 leading standing on the 17th tee, his only mission to make sure it found grass beneath it. He kept his bogey-free round in tact to the end, walking off the 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.
Stenson earned $1.71 million for a victory that moves him to No. 5 in the world ranking.
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Cristie Kerr took the lead with a birdie on the 15th hole and held off In-Kyung Kim by two strokes to win the Michelob Ultra Open.
Kerr, the 2005 Kingsmill winner, had a 16-under 268 total and earned $330,000 for her 12th career LPGA Tour title. She closed with a 1-under 70 after opening with rounds of 69, 63 and 66.
Kim finished with a 71. Song-Hee Kim (71) and Lindsey Wright (73) tied for third at 13 under.
Ex-Arizona Wildcat Lorena Ochoa, the first- and second-round leader, shot her second straight 74 to finish 10th at 7 under.
TURIN, Italy – Argentina’s Daniel Vancsik won the Italian Open for his second PGA European Tour title, closing with a 6-under 65 for a six-stroke victory.