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Ex-Ryder Cup captain Stenson wins in LIV Golf debut

Sweden's Henrik Stenson wins the LIV Golf Invitational Bedminster, a week after his move to the rebel circuit saw him stripped of Europe's Ryder Cup captaincy
— New York (AFP)

Henrik Stenson, stripped of the European Ryder Cup captaincy after joining the breakaway LIV Golf circuit, shook off the controversy to win the LIV Golf Invitational Bedminster on Sunday.

"I guess we can agree I played like a captain," said the 46-year-old Swede in a dig at Ryder Cup Europe after he carded a two-under par 69 at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

His 11-under total gave him a two-shot victory over Matthew Wolff and Dustin Johnson in the 54-hole, shotgun start event.

Stenson was sacked as Europe's Ryder Cup captain last week after signing with the Saudi-backed LIV circuit, which has drawn criticism from human rights activists concerned about Saudi Arabia's record.

The circuit has additionally provoked the wrath of the established DP World Tour and US PGA Tours as it lures players with massive purses and reportedly in some cases with signing bonuses worth tens of millions.

"It's been a busy 10 days and I'm extremely proud that I managed to focus as well as I did," said Stenson, who raked in the $4 million individual winner's prize from the $20 million purse as well as a share of the $1.5 million awarded for his Majesticks team's runner-up finish in the team event.

Former world number one Johnson, who birdied the last to claim his share of second with a three-under 68 for nine-under, captained the winning 4 Aces team. Wolff carded a seven-under 64.

The third event of the rebel circuit again saw families of victims of the 9/11 attacks call out golfers for linking themselves to Saudi Arabia, which they accuse of complicity in the atrocity.

It also saw former US president Donald Trump heaping praise on the controversial series as he turned out for the pre-tournament pro-am at the course he owns less than 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Ground Zero.

The circuit, which on Friday confirmed that it had signed up two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, now takes a break until the fourth of seven events in its inaugural season, in Boston September 2-4.

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