Henrik Stenson celebrates winning the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup on the 18th green at East Lake Golf Club on Sunday. (Reuters)
ATLANTA — Henrik Stenson held his nerve to fend off a last-day charge by Jordan Spieth and win the season-ending Tour Championship by three shots on Sunday, along with FedExCup honors and the mind-boggling $10 million bonus.
Four strokes in front overnight in the fourth and final playoff event, Stenson saw his lead briefly cut to one on the back nine before he birdied the 15th on the way to his fourth title on the U.S. circuit, and his second of the year.
The Swede, one of five players who came into this week knowing that victory would automatically secure him the playoff crown, signed off with a two-under-par 68 on a sun-splashed day at East Lake Golf Club for a 13-under total of 267.
“This is going to sink in over the coming days,” a beaming Stenson said after being presented with both trophies following his wire-to-wire victory at East Lake. “What better way to go into a month-long break than this?”
PGA Tour rookie sensation Spieth, seeking his second victory of the year, closed with an eight-birdie 64 to finish in a tie for second at 10 under with fellow American Steve Stricker (65).
American Webb Simpson carded a best-of-the-day 63 to secure fourth place in the elite 30-player field at nine under, a stroke better than compatriot Dustin Johnson (69).
FedExCup points leader Tiger Woods, a distant 14 strokes off the pace overnight, ending his 2013 PGA Tour campaign with a three-under 67 in a tie for 22nd at level-par 280.
The final round all boiled down to Stenson and whether his nerve and overnight lead would hold up as he chased the biggest payday of his career.
He safely parred the first, despite ending up in the right rough off the tee, but his lead was cut to three when playing partner Johnson sank a slick, 15-foot birdie putt at the par-four third.
Though Johnson bogeyed the fifth and sixth to slide back, Spieth began to apply pressure on Stenson with three successive birdies from the seventh.
However the Swede struck a superb approach to three feet at the seventh to pick up his first shot of the day, then parred the next two holes to hold a commanding five-stroke advantage at the turn.
Stenson also birded the 11th, draining a 10-footer, but Spieth continued to charge with a sizzling run of four consecutive birdies from the par-four 13th to move two shots off the pace.
The Swede was certainly feeling the pressure and he bogeyed the 14th after finding rough off the tee, overshooting the green with his approach and missing a 25-footer for his lead to be cut to one.
But Spieth stumbled with a bogey at the 17th after hitting his approach into a greenside bunker and Stenson regained a three-stroke cushion with a birdie at the par-five 15th, where he got up and down from behind the green.
Stenson almost holed his bunker shot for an unexpected birdie at the par-four 16th, his ball finishing inches from the cup, then parred the last two holes to end his PGA Tour campaign on a lucrative high note.