GREENSBORO – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – It had been more than a year since Henrik Stenson won a golf tournament, so even with a record score there was nothing easy about it Sunday. Stenson put together four birdies with the pressure on to pull away from a crowded leaderboard and win the Wyndham Championship by one stroke at Sedgefield Country Club.
“It pushed me all the way to the end,” he said. “It was a tight race. Luckily, I put my foot down and made a couple of birdies coming home.”
Stenson shot 6-under-par 64 in the final round to set a tournament record on the course at 22-under 258.
He saved par on the final hole after hitting into the fairway rough.
Stenson trusted his shot-making ability and touch around the greens.
“It’s the first win for me without a driver in the bag,” he said.
Stenson, who moved from No. 9 to No. 6 in the world rankings, registered birdies on Nos. 13, 15, 16 and 17.
The 41-year-old Swede, who was the highest-rated golfer in the field, hadn’t won since the 2016 British Open. He moved to 23rd in FedEx Cup points, a jump from No. 75.
He made a schedule change to enter the tournament.
“You never know when a win is around the corner,” Stenson said. “It’s certainly a good time to start firing. It’s the first step and delighted to get a win this year.
“(I entered) hoping to pick up some momentum and certainly I did. Sometimes you turn something around in a short time.”
Ollie Schniederjans was second after his final-round 64, with birdies on Nos. 17 and 18. He nearly produced an eagle on the final hole, but the ball rolled past the cup on his shot from the fairway.
“This was probably my best tournament that I’ve played four straight days,” Schniederjans said. “At the beginning of the day, I would have taken a 64 and liked my chances of winning.”
Schniederjans, a rookie aiming for his first PGA Tour title, rolled in a birdie putt on No. 17 accompanied by big fist pump. He played in the pairing in front of Stenson.
Webb Simpson (67), the 2011 champion, took third place at 18 under. Ryan Armour and Rory Sabbatini shot 64s and joined Kevin Na (68), who played the last round with Stenson, as finishers at 17 under to share fourth place.
With six holes to play, Stenson, Armour, Schniederjans and Na all shared the lead.
“It was anyone’s tournament on the back nine,” Stenson said.
Not only was the championship at stake, but several golfers moved into and out of the top 125 in points in the final regular-season event of the season. A spot within the top 125 is needed for a position in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Na had a 42-foot birdie roll on No. 2 for the first of his four front-side birdies. He moved alone in first place at No. 9.
Armour, the second-round co-leader, appeared to drop out of contention with Saturday’s 72, but he played the first eight holes of the final round at 4 under to pull within two strokes with plenty of golf to play.
Armour was in a four-way tie for first place with his birdie on No. 16. His ball landed in a greenside bunker on No. 18 and posted a bogey. That dropped Armour to 17 under, and he also fell out of the top 125.
Davis Love III, a three-time champion in this tournament (most recently in 2015), finished with a 69 to tie for 10th place with Harold Varner III (69) and Richy Werenski (69).
Several golfers moved into the top 125 to secure a spot in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
The list of late playoff qualifiers included Rory Sabbatini (began the week at 148), Geoff Ogilvy (was 125), Martin Flores (was 139), Varner (was 138) and J.J. Henry (was 134), who was the last qualifier. Vaughn Taylor slipped from 119 to 124 but stayed in the mix.
“I guess what the situation proved to be is how much I wanted to still be here,” Ogilvy said of the pressure to advance.
NOTES: Roberto Castro had a hole-in-one on No. 3 and Ben Crane and Martin Flores aced the 16th hole in the final round. Crane’s hole-in-one resulted in him winning 1 million Wyndham Rewards points. The prize goes to the first golfer to ace No. 16 during the tournament. “Landed two paces short there and rolled in just like a putt,” said Crane, who used a 7-iron. … There were no holes-in-one during the tournament’s first three days. … There was an eagle each day on the par-4 first hole, with Cameron Smith pulling it off Sunday