Rose seizes dramatic win as Johnson equals record collapse
English golfer Justin Rose roared back from an eight-stroke deficit to claim a stunning two-shot win at the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai yesterday, after world No. 1 Dustin Johnson threw away a win with a record-equalling collapse.
Eight strokes behind Johnson on the first tee, Rose fired a five-under 67, tearing up the back nine with five birdies at Sheshan Golf Club as the American gave up a six-stroke lead to finish second with Henrik Stenson and Brooks Koepka.
Johnson, who had been bidding to become the first to win three WGC titles in a year, instead joined Sergio Garcia and Greg Norman with the record for the largest blown lead in surrendering a US PGA Tour event.
Garcia lost at Quail Hollow in 2005, with Norman's famous meltdown coming at the 1996 Masters.
PLAYING FOR SECOND
"I kind of played matchplay against the golf course," said former US Open winner Rose, who finished the US$9.75-million (S$13.3m) event with a 14-under total of 274.
"I kind of figured I was playing for second. I thought 13 (under) was going to be an important number to get to.
"Then obviously I saw DJ get back to about 14 or 15 (under) and then the game was on. So it was certainly exciting coming down the stretch."
Rose was heartbroken earlier in the year when he was denied his second Major title at the Masters by Garcia and also missed out with runner-up finishes at the Sony Open in Hawaii and last month's BMW Championship.
"This is really, really satisfying," said the 37-year-old.
"I've won every year since 2010 and I was very aware that that was kind of slipping away from me this year.
"I certainly left it late but to win a WGC is just amazing, obviously. They count for so much."
Johnson was ashen-faced as he trudged grimly through Sheshan while his game fell apart in a five-over 77.
The long-hitting American could still force a play-off with an eagle on the par-five 18th but his second shot caught the edge of the green and rolled down into a water hazard, an apt finish to a miserable day.
Meanwhile, Cristie Kerr captured a 20th career LPGA title at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia yesterday.
The 40-year-old American earned a one-stroke victory over Feng Shanshan, Danielle Kang and Jacqui Concolino, after a sensational 35-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole. - WIRE SERVICES