Race to Dubai: Henrik Stenson hails 'best year'

     Henrik Stenson won his second Race to Dubai title at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.

    Story highlights

    • Stenson wins 2016 Race to Dubai title
    • "Best year of my career," says Swede

    (CNN)It's been quite a year for Henrik Stenson -- the best of his career, in fact.

    On Sunday, the Swede was crowned winner of the European Tour's Order of Merit, topping off a season that has seen him claim his first major title at the British Open and win an Olympic silver medal in Rio.
      A joint ninth-place finish at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, the culmination of the Race to Dubai series, was enough for the 40-year-old to top the Tour's money list for the second time, bagging just under $4.5 million (€4.1M) over the course of the season.
      Add to that the $1.25 million bonus Stenson will pick up from the $5 million pool distributed between the top 10 golfers in Europe, and things start to look even more rosy for the world No. 4.
      "It has been a great year, the best year of my career," Stenson told reporters. "I always thought it was going to be difficult to top 2013 but I think I have done that this year.
      "I'm very pleased because I've now got two DP World Tour Championship titles (from 2013 and 2014) and two Race to Dubai titles (also winning in 2013). I have a set in my home in Sweden and a set in my home in America, so I can spread it out and make it look good in both places.
      "I'm going to have a bit of a break, and will certainly look at that Claret Jug and the Race to Dubai, and maybe tangle up the silver medal on top of them. Then sit back and enjoy the really nice year I've had on the course."

      Showdown in Dubai

      Stenson finished the weekend tied on 12 under par in a group with world No. 2 Rory McIlroy, who needed to win the tournament and see his rivals fall down the leaderboard in order to claim his third successive Race to Dubai title.
      After tying for 24th at the Masters and then pulling out during his opening round at the US Open, Stenson got his season back on track by winning June's BMW International Open in Munich and then the British Open in July.
      He shared seventh place at the PGA Championship before being runner-up to Justin Rose at Rio 2016, and equal second at the WGC-HSBC Champions event in China last month put him top of the standings ahead of the Race To Dubai playoffs.
      Stenson opted not to play in the opener in Turkey, but consolidated his advantage with eighth at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
      "Luckily for me I didn't really win it this week here in Dubai or last week in South Africa; it was the second-place finish at the HSBC that put me top of the Race to Dubai, and I managed to hold the other guys off coming here to the end," he said.
      Masters champion Danny Willett, who went into the tournament second overall, needed to finish in the top four to stand any chance of catching the Swede. However, the Englishman could only finish tied for 50th place.
      His compatriot and Ryder Cup teammate Matthew Fitzpatrick won the tournament -- his second title this season -- to finish sixth in the Race to Dubai.
      One behind overnight, the 22-year-old birdied the final hole to end one stroke ahead of fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton, who was fourth on the money list.

      Spieth's Aussie triumph

      Away from the European Tour, Jordan Spieth won his second Australian Open title after a tense three-man playoff against home fans' favorites Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall at the Royal Sydney Golf Club.
      The world No. 5 carded a three-under 69, recovering after earlier holing three bogeys in four holes. He became only the second American after Jack Nicklaus to win the tournament more than once.
      After his 2014 victory, Spieth went on to win the first two majors of the following season.
        For Smith and Hall, there was the consolation of managing to secure places for next year's Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.