NASSAU, Bahamas — Winless for more than two years, Henrik Stenson found himself in the middle of a wild chase to the finish Saturday with Tiger Woods and the elite in golf all around him.
Five players had a chance to win in the final hour. Four had at least a share of the lead at one point. One swing changed everything.
"The shot of the day," Stenson said.
The 43-year-old from Sweden drilled a 5-wood shot that took the ball from 259 yards to within inches of the hole for a tap-in eagle on the par-5 15th, going from a one-shot deficit to a one-shot lead. Three pars gave him a 6-under 66 and a one-stroke victory in the Hero World Challenge he might not have seen coming.
Stenson tied for 44th two weeks ago at the European Tour's season-ending event in Dubai and spent a few hours on the range that afternoon with swing coach Pete Cowen. He carried some of that to the Bahamas, and his nerves held up at Albany Golf Club, where he finished at 18-under 270.
"Just keep on working hard and grinding it out," Stenson said. "Confidence can still be a little higher, but I'm really happy with the way I hung in there."
Tournament host Woods fell out of contention with a chip that didn't make it up the slope on the 14th hole, forcing him to scramble for a bogey. Fellow American Justin Thomas had a pair of 12-foot birdie putts burn the edge. Jon Rahm, trying to repeat as champion in his final event before getting married in Spain, appeared to seize control with a birdie-eagle-birdie stretch to take the lead on the 16th hole.
Then Stenson struck the decisive blow and knew it was good — even though he couldn't see beyond a dune. Rahm had to settle for two pars to close out his 66, a scored matched by third-place finisher Patrick Reed at at 16 under, two shots ahead of fourth-place Woods (69).
Stenson, who won the 2016 British Open with former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga golfer Gareth Lord as his caddie, celebrated victory for the first time in 50 tournaments worldwide, a drought dating to the PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship in August 2017.
The World Challenge was just the first stop for 11 of the Americans in the field. They had a few hours before a charter flight from the Bahamas to Australia for the Presidents Cup, which starts Thursday with Woods as the first playing captain in 25 years in the matches that pit the United States against an International team that doesn't include golfers from Europe.