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Henrik Stenson caps ‘dream’ season with European Tour player of the year honors

Francois Nel

Henrik Stenson wrapped up his 2013 season with an unprecedented global double -- winning both the FedexCup and Race to Dubai titles -- and followed that by earning a unanimous decision as the European Tour's player of the year.

Stenson, who left U.S. Open winner Justin Rose a distant second in the balloting by European journalists and broadcasters, locked up the award with his six-stroke win in the tour's season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. That, on top of his victory in the PGA Tour's FedExCup sweepstakes, made it no contest for the 37-year-old to become the first Swedish golfer to cadge the trophy.

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"There is absolutely no doubt that Henrik Stenson is a fully deserving winner of The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year award," George O'Grady, Euro Tour chief executive, said in a statement on Tuesday. "Henrik's unprecedented success was the result of the most tremendous consistency and hard work, and to finish it all off in such style at the DP World Tour Championship to secure The Race to Dubai was quite remarkable."

Stenson succeeds Rory McIlroy, who chalked up his own inter-continental double last year when he won money titles on both tours.

"To be voted the European Tour Golfer of the Year ... reflects the stellar year I have had," Stenson said. "You can call it a dream season, year of my life, whatever you want. It has been an unbelievable year and I am delighted to win this award, especially as I am the first Swede to do so."

Stenson used his victory at the 2012 South African Open Championship as a springboard to 2013 success. He earned a spot at the Masters, where he finished T18, with a share of second place at the Shell Houston Open. He tied for fifth at The Players Championship, recorded a T3 at the Scottish Open, was runner-up to Phil Mickelson at the British Open, tied for second at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and came in third at the PGA Championship.

Before embarking on the Race to Dubai, Stenson won the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second of four FedExCup playoff games, and then cashed the $10 million winner's check when he bested PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth and Steve Stricker by three shots at the Tour Championship.

Such solid, consistent play gave Stenson the PoY trophy, despite Rose becoming the first Englishman in 43 years to win the U.S. Open.

"To be the unanimous winner of the European Tour Golfer of the Year in a season which saw Justin Rose win his first major championship really speaks volumes to Henrik's frightening level of consistency," observed the Daily Mail's Derek Lawrenson, who serves as chair of the Association of Golf Writers and Golf Correspondents.

Following his sensational 2013 season, Stenson stated his clear objective for the upcoming campaign.

"The majors are the biggest goal for me now," he said. "If I can continue to play at the level I have been then I feel I can have a pretty good shot at them."

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