In a dramatic final day in Shanghai, Dustin Johnson clinched the HSBC Champions title at Sheshan International Golf Club. He began and ended the day with a three-shot cushion that might have looked comfortable, but in truth was anything but. After Johnson three-putted the 1st for bogey, he saw playing partner Ian Poulter draw level after birdies at 1 and 2, and then Graeme McDowell – the other member of the final group – also share the lead after opening with three birdies.
Poulter went ahead with a birdie on the 5th, and McDowell joined him two holes later, dropping Johnson into third. Poulter took the sole lead on 8, while birdies at 8 and 9 saw DJ draw level, but Poulter again went ahead with a birdie at 12, with McDowell and Johnson now tied for second, one shot behind. Johnson’s epic close began on the 13th, tying Poulter with a birdie, before both birdied the 14th. But a bogey for Poulter at 15, coupled with a chip-in for eagle at the short par-4 16th for Johnson, put the American back in front and he gave himself some breathing room with another birdie at 17, completing a clutch run of picking up five shots in five holes.
Confusing? Like I said, just think of it as dramatic. DJ had the lead (sole or shared) for 12 holes in three separate stints, while defending champion Poulter was actually at the top of the leaderboard for 13 of the 18 holes. His consolation is $850,000, while DJ banks $1.4 million.
Sergio Garcia had the round of the day – a nine-under-par 63 – to finish 4th, while Liang Wenchong was China’s top finisher after a 66 took him up to T15. Honorable mentions also go to Huang Wenyi (T34) and 18-year-old pro Li Haotong who finished T39 after a closing round of 67. Oh, and DA Points was definitely tweeting too much: his final round of 75 earned him just 2.5 FedEx Cup points.
In slightly less dramatic – but very likely more significant – news, the creation of a PGA Tour China was announced earlier in the day by the PGA Tour, the China Golf Association and promoter China Olympic Sports Industry. The new tour will see see 12 tournaments played across China in 2014. More tomorrow…