Dustin Johnson wins HSBC Champions title
BY Asian Tour | US PGA Tour | 2013 WGC - HSBC Champions Tournament | Wrap | 03 Nov 2013
Shanghai, November 3: Dustin Johnson of the United States fended off the challenges of defending champion Ian Poulter and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell by staging a late comeback with a final round six-under-par 66 to win the WGC-HSBC Champions on Sunday.
Trailing by one shot with six holes to play, the Ryder Cup star proved his title credentials by firing three birdies and an eagle to seal a three-shot victory with his winning total of 24-under-par 264 at the Sheshan International Golf Club.
Poulter had to settle for second place after he closed with a 66 while McDowell also signed for a 66 to finish in third place.
China’s Liang Wen-chong emerged as the highest-ranked Asian after he also posted a 66 to take a share of 15th place with Major winner Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa at the year’s final World Golf Championship.
“I stuck to my game plan, and obviously I played really well on the last few holes of the front nine and had a great back nine. But the guys, they made it really interesting, and you know, I just played really good coming down the stretch,” said Johnson.
“This is probably my biggest win, and with the field and the tournament, World Golf Championships, hopefully this is a sign of better things to come,” added the American.
Having started his final round with a three-shot lead, Johnson saw his advantage wiped out after two holes.
A three-putt bogey at the first hole from Johnson, combined with two opening birdies from Poulter, saw the pair tied on 17-under.
It became a tight affair at the top of the leaderboard as McDowell set off with a scorching pace by firing three birdies in his opening three holes.
Birdies on the eighth and ninth holes got Johnson back into a share of the lead and although Poulter edged in front with a birdie on the 12th hole, Johnson matched his efforts with birdies on the 13th and 14th holes to set up a titanic finish.
Johnson’s turning point came at the par-four 16th when he chipped in for eagle before going on to hit a glorious tee-shot at the par three 17th and holed an eight-footer for birdie.
After dropping his only shot a t the 15th, Poulter bravely holed a 12-foot birdie on the 16th to reduce Johnson’s advantage to two.
He was however left to watch Johnson restore his three-shot advantage after another birdie on the 17th.
“I guess it was a good defence. Obviously I’m a little disappointed not to put my hands back on the trophy, but 15 birdies and an eagle at the weekend is some pretty good golf,” said Poulter.
“I’m in great form, I really am playing well. The work I’ve done, obviously leading up to this run of tournaments has really worked and I couldn’t be hitting it any better right now and obviously rolling a few putts in,” added Poulter.
While McDowell could not hide his disappointment on missing out on another grandstand finish, he took consolation in his weekend performance.
“There’s obviously a pang of disappointment, but I’m generally just very proud of myself and the way I played this week tee to green. I didn’t make a bogey all weekend and hit some really quality golf shots Dustin Johnson was in a different league off the tee and gave us a little bit of a sniff and then promptly slammed the door, so there was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it,” said McDowell.
The best of the Australasians at the completion of 36 holes was Scott Hend who, despite a poor finishing stretch today, was 21st while Mark Brown was next best in 24th position.
Melbourne based Jin Jeong finish 18th to continue his good form after wining the Perth International recently.
Leading scores after round 4 of the WGC – HSBC Champions being played at the par 72, 7266 Yards Sheshan International Golf Club course (a- denotes amateur):
264 – Dustin JOHNSON (USA) 69-63-66-66.
267 – Ian POULTER (ENG) 71-67-63-66.
268 – Graeme MCDOWELL (NIR) 69-69-64-66.
270 – Sergio GARCIA (ESP) 70-68-69-63.
272 – Justin ROSE (ENG) 68-71-65-68.
273 – Rory MCILROY (NIR) 65-72-67-69, Graham DELAET (CAN) 71-68-65-69.
274 – Jamie DONALDSON (WAL) 67-74-66-67, Bubba WATSON (USA) 68-69-69-68, Martin KAYMER (GER) 70-74-62-68.
275 – Ernie ELS (RSA) 69-69-71-66, Keegan BRADLEY (USA) 71-68-68-68, Boo WEEKLEY (USA) 70-67-69-69.
276 – Phil MICKELSON (USA) 71-68-72-65.
277 – LIANG Wen-chong (CHN) 72-67-72-66, Louis OOSTHUIZEN (RSA) 70-70-70-67.
278 – Jordan SPIETH (USA) 68-71-70-69.
279 – Jin JEONG (KOR) 70-69-71-69, Tommy FLEETWOOD (ENG) 68-70-69-72.
280 – Paul CASEY (ENG) 69-73-69-69.