Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Johnson keeps lead in HSBC Champions

SHANGHAI — On 16 holes, Dustin Johnson looked like the player who has won every year since turning pro and has played on two U.S. Ryder Cup teams.

Starting the third round of the HSBC Champions with a five-shot lead, he blasted his way to 10 birdies and was running away from the field.

But all those birdies were offset by two double bogeys, the last one cutting his lead in half going into today's final round of this World Golf Championships event. About the only thing that cheered him up Saturday was his 6-under 66 and a three-shot lead over Ian Poulter (63) at 18-under 198.

"It's a good score," Johnson said. "I'm definitely happy with what I shot. I'm just not happy with the way I finished. Making two doubles, there's no excuse for that, especially the way I'm playing right now."

Johnson ran off five straight birdies to close out a 30 on the front nine of Sheshan International and a five-shot lead over Poulter. For his next trick, he hit wedge four times from inside 100 yards before he could get the ball on the green at the 10th hole. He had to make a 12-foot putt for double bogey.

He followed with a run of four straight birdies, hitting a 5-iron into 15 feet for a two-putt birdie on the par-5 14th and a 3-iron to the front of the 16th green for a chip-and-putt birdie that stretched his lead to six shots.

On 18, Johnson's tee shot sailed to the right and into the middle of the lake. It appeared that he could have dropped farther up the fairway, but playing partners Boo Weekley and Bubba Watson didn't offer much help as to where (or if) the shot crossed land before it entered the hazard. Not wanting to take any chances, Johnson opted to return to the tee. He ripped another drive down the edge of the water, this time with his draw to reach the fairway.

But his approach went left near the lip of a bunker, and he did well to blast out to 15 feet and take two putts for 7.

Poulter, who shot 30 on the front nine without making birdie on either of the par 5s, closed with birdie on the par-5 18th. He thought that was a good day of work, even though he wasn't making up ground on Johnson.

"This golf course gives up a lot of birdies, and (Johnson is) a good player," Poulter said. "And in this form, he's going to make a lot of birdies. I just need to do my thing (today) and make a lot more than what he does. I'm going to have to see what happens coming down the stretch."

Johnson was in the final group today with Poulter and Graeme McDowell (64), who was four shots behind.

Rory McIlroy birdied three of his last five holes for 67 and was in a group six shots behind with Graham DeLaet (65) and U.S. Open champion Justin Rose (65).

McDowell has a lot at stake today. At No. 2 on the European Tour money list, he could move past Henrik Stenson in the Race to Dubai if he were to finish alone in second.

Champions: Fred Couples extended his lead to five strokes after the third round of the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, shooting 3-under 68 to move to 15-under 198 in San Francisco. Mark O'Meara (67) was second. Defending champion Tom Lehman had the best round of the day, 65, to join Bart Bryant (70) and Peter Senior (72) at 9 under. Points leader Kenny Perry (67) was in a group of three at 7 under.

Johnson keeps lead in HSBC Champions 11/02/13 [Last modified: Saturday, November 2, 2013 9:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Baddest of them all? Steelers LB James Harrison, hands down

    Bucs

    "No badass list is complete - or should begin anywhere else other than with - James Harrison," says Eric Edholm, an NFL writer who has worked at Yahoo Sports. (Associated Press)
  2. Good to be bad? Dirk Koetter's call for bold, brash Bucs

    Bucs

    Is being a badass team all about swagger and toughness? "Our whole thing is about competing," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter says. (Loren Elliott | Times)
  3. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)

    College

    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  4. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  5. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)