Friday, December 15, 2017
Golf

Justin Rose overcomes eight-shot deficit to win HSBC Champions

SHANGHAI — Justin Rose posed with the trophy from the balcony high above the 18th green at Sheshan International, a moment that didn’t seem possible.

He started the final round eight shots behind Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world.

"The beginning of the day, I was playing for second," Rose said.

The HSBC Champions turned into a shocker in Shanghai when Johnson went into the PGA Tour record books for all the wrong reasons.

Instead of becoming the first player to win three World Golf Championships in one year, he tied a record for losing the largest lead in the final round. Six shots clear of the field, Johnson didn’t make a single birdie on a wild, wind-blown Sunday for a collapse even Rose didn’t see coming.

Only when he saw a leaderboard behind the 14th green and realized he was three shots behind did Rose think he might have a chance. He got up-and-down with a tough bunker shot for birdie. He made a 10-foot par save at the 15th to stay in the game. He birdied the next two holes.

As Rose was signing for 5-under 67, he looked up and saw Johnson’s shot at eagle on the 18th tumble off the green and into the water.

"It’s the kind of day you certainly don’t expect," Rose said after finishing at 14-under 274 for a two-shot victory. "It’s the kind of a day you hope for — dream for — but a lot of things need to go your way in order for a day like today to happen, coming from eight shots behind, especially going against a player like DJ."

Johnson shot 77, his worst final round with a lead since 82 at Pebble Beach in the 2010 U.S. Open. "I just could never get anything going and didn’t hole any putts," he said. "It was pretty simple."

Johnson matched the record for losing a six-shot lead, most recently by Sergio Garcia at Quail Hollow in 2005, most famously by Greg Norman in the 1996 Masters. FSU product Brooks Koepka went into the round six back and shot 71 to tie for second with Johnson and Henrik Stenson (70).

Rose shot 31 on the back nine. Only two others have come from more than eight shots behind on the final day to win — Paul Lawrie (10 shots) in the 1999 British Open and Stewart Cink (nine) at Hilton Head in 2004.

"It was the perfect type of weather conditions to make a comeback," Rose said. "This is the type of day when you are playing with a lead, every hole seems difficult. Obviously, someone is still capable of playing a special round of golf. And my back nine was just amazing" Sunday.

PGA: Ryan Armour shot 4-under 68 to earn his first career win at the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss. Armour started the final round with a five-shot lead and won for the first time in 105 career starts, finishing at 19-under for a five-shot victory over Chesson Hadley (68).

LPGA: Locked in a four-way tie for the lead going to the 18th hole, Cristie Kerr made a 35-foot birdie putt for even-par 71 and a one-shot victory at the LPGA Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. Kerr finished at 15-under 269 to become the 27th player with 20 LPGA victories. Shanshan Feng, who trailed Kerr by one shot going into the final round, closed with 71 to tie for second with Danielle Kang (66) and Jacqui Concolino (67).

CHAMPIONS: Bernhard Langer holed a 30-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to defeat Miguel Angel Jimenez in the Powershares QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Langer has won the first two Charles Schwab Cup playoff events. Langer and Jimenez, who with David Toms were co-leaders through 36 holes, closed with 5-under 67s to finish regulation at 11-under 205. Toms shot 69 and finished third.

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