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2013 European Tour Year In Review
By David Jordan, Golf Editor
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The 2013 European Tour season concluded with a feat that had never been accomplished before.
That performance belonged to Henrik Stenson, who closed out the season with a victory at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai to clinch the Race to Dubai title and become the first-ever player to win the PGA Tour's FedExCup and Race to Dubai in the same season.
Aside from that performance, the European Tour's 2013 campaign was one of parity, with only three players earning multiple victories and no one winning more than two.
Among those single winners was Justin Rose's triumph at the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club.
Nine-time European Tour winner Adam Scott also captured one of the season's majors when he came out on top at the Masters to claim his first green jacket. That was one of Scott's two wins on the PGA Tour in 2013.
Now let's look at who else did what in 2013:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR -- Henrik Stenson
How could it be anyone else after Stenson accomplished what he did?
The Swede picked up three wins on the year over both the PGA and European Tours among his 11 top-10 finishes. He missed just two cuts in 29 starts overall.
Stenson's dominant year began rather modestly with a tie for 16th at the Qatar Masters being his best finish through his first five events before missing his first cut at the Honda Classic.
After coming back with a share of 39th place at the Puerto Rico Open, Stenson found his form with back-to-back top-10 finishes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Houston Open, where he finished in a tie for second.
He would then miss his final cut of the year at his next event, the Wells Fargo Championship.
Stenson caught fire from there, collecting five top-5 finishes over his next 10 starts. That streak was capped with an impressive run of four straight events in which he finished no lower than a tie for third.
Next was the FedExCup playoffs, where Stenson followed a share of 43rd place at the Barclays with his first win of the season at the Deutsche Bank Championship. He earned a share of 33rd at the BMW Championship before rolling to 3-stroke victory at the Tour Championship to become the first European to win the FedExCup.
He then set his sights on the Race to Dubai title, where he began his pursuit with two finishes inside the top 35 at the BMW Masters and WGC - HSBC Champions.
After finishing in a share of seventh at the Turkish Airlines Open to lead the Race to Dubai standings by 214,000 points entering the final event of the year, the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, Stenson recorded a pair of 64s en route to setting the tournament record of 25-under-par 263 and secure his second large payday in a month.
Among the others considered were Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter.
TOURNAMENT OF THE YEAR -- Open de Espana
The best tournament of the year was also the longest, as Raphael Jacquelin needed a record-tying nine playoff holes to capture the title of the Open de Espana.
Marc Warren entered the third round with a 2-stroke lead, and he maintained that advantage through 13 holes before tripping to a pair of bogeys at the 14th and 15th to drop into a tie with Felipe Aguilar and Maximilian Kieffer.
After chipping in from a greenside bunker at the 16th to regain the outright lead, Warren posted back-to-back 3-putt bogeys at Nos. 17 and 18 to miss out of the playoff.
Jacquelin took advantage of Warren's descent with a birdie at the last to jump to 5-under and join Aguilar and Kieffer in the playoff.
Aguilar was the first to be eliminated from the playoff when he could not match Jacquelin and Kieffer's birdies at the third extra hole.
Jacquelin would then have a chance to wrap up the victory over the next three holes from about 15 feet each time, but he could not convert to keep the marathon going.
It was Kieffer to have the next chance when Jacquelin found a greenside bunker with his second shot at the seventh playoff hole, but he also could not convert his birdie effort to keep Jacquelin alive.
Following another missed birdie putt by Kieffer at the eighth playoff hole, Jacquelin stuck his approach at the ninth extra hole to within five feet of the hole and rolled in his short birdie putt to claim the title.
The nine-hole playoff tied the longest playoff in European Tour history, which was set at the 1989 KLM Open when Jose Maria Olazabal outlasted Roger Chapman and Ronan Rafferty.
Other events considered were the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, Turkish Airlines Open, Wales Open and Scottish Open.
SHOT OF THE YEAR -- Donaldson's ace
Victor Dubuisson entered the final round of the Turkish Airlines Open with a 5-stroke lead, but was nearly done in by a hard-charging Jamie Donaldson.
That charge included seven birdies and a bogey over the Welshman's first 15 holes to pull him within two strokes of Dubuisson heading to the par-3 16th, where Donaldson landed his tee shot about five feet of the hole before it rolled into the cup.
The hole-in-one pulled Donaldson even with Dubuisson at 21-under, and he would later close with a birdie at the last to finish at 22-under and post the low score of the day with a 9-under 63.
Dubuisson, however, would spoil Donaldson's late heroics with three birdies over his final four holes to claim the title.
Other shots considered were Matteo Manassero's bunker shot at the Seve Trophy, Francesco Molinari bunker shot at the Italian Open and Gregory Bourdy's lengthy putt at the BMW Masters.
ROOKIE OF YEAR -- Peter Uihlein
American Peter Uihlein made 24 starts on the European Tour in 2013 and made 18 cuts. His eight top-10 finishes during that span tied him with Joost Luiten, Thomas Bjorn, Felipe Aguilar and Pablo Larrazabal for the most of the season.
Uihlein's season started off pretty pedestrian, as he finished well off the pace at the season-opening Nelson Mandela Championship before sharing 55th at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
But the 2010 U.S. Amateur champion rounded into form from there, picking up four of his top-10 finishes over his next seven starts, including his first professional win at the Madeira Islands Open.
He finished no worse than 32nd over his next six events before hitting a skid with four missed cuts over a five-event span. He did snag a second-place finish at the Wales Open amid that stretch, and then collected a pair of top-5s in his next two starts.
Uihlein's season ended as slowly as it started, however, when he closed the year with three straight finishes in the 50s.
He finished the year in 14th on the Race to Dubai standings.
Other considered were Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Walters, Maximilian Kieffer and Morten Orum Madsen.
- Ian Poulter failed to earn a single win on the year, but still finished second in the Race to Dubai standings. He participated in just 14 European Tour events overall and missed only two cuts during that span, while finishing inside the top-5 five times.
- Graeme McDowell was one of the multiple winners on the year, collecting
titles at the Volvo World Match Play Championship and Open de France. Those wins allowed him to finish fourth on the Race to Dubai despite also playing in just 14 events.
- Joost Luiten was the other multiple winner of the season with victories at the Lyoness Open and KLM Open. He posted eight top-10 finishes in all, including five top fives.
- Alessandro Tadini failed to advance to the weekend in 12 of his 27 starts on the year and finished no better than a tie for 20th in the other 15, placing him 150th on the Order of Merit.
- Simon Wakefield made 29 starts on the year and missed 13 cuts. He did post a tie for eighth place at the Wales Open, but also had a pair of stretches where he missed four straight cuts.
- Jbe Kruger, the 2012 Avantha Masters champion, had just one top-10 finish in 23 starts and closed the year with a streak of 10 straight missed cuts.
12/02 15:17:34 ET