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Ryder Cup star Poulter does it alone

Ian Poulter’s birdie on No. 15 helps him come back from four shots behind in the final round and win the HSBC Champions.

Associated Press

Ian Poulter’s birdie on No. 15 helps him come back from four shots behind in the final round and win the HSBC Champions.

SHENZHEN, China — Ian Poulter showed he can be a star even when playing for himself.

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One month after leading an improbable European rally to win the Ryder Cup, Poulter won for the first time this year. He closed with 7-under 65 Sunday to come from four shots behind and win the HSBC Champions for his second career World Golf Championships title.

It won't overshadow what he did at Medinah in the Ryder Cup: five straight birdies to pick up a crucial point in fourballs Saturday and winning his singles match Sunday to complete a 4-0 week. Even so, it was important to the Englishman that the year not pass without a victory of his own.

"I've only been one season without a victory, and I certainly didn't want to go another one," Poulter said after finishing at 21-under 267 for a two-shot win. "As well as I've played this year, it would have been a disappointment personally to have gone that year without winning."

Phil Mickelson (68), Jason Dufner (64), Scott Piercy (65) and Ernie Els (67) tied for second. Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen shared the 54-hole lead, but both shot 72 to tie for sixth.

Poulter won for the first time since the World Match Play Championship in May 2011.

Earlier, organizers said the HSBC Champions will become an official PGA Tour event next year. The total purse will increase to $8.5 million from $7 million.

CHAMPIONS: Tom Lehman won the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Scottsdale, Ariz., to become the first player to win the season points title two straight years. After shooting 68-63-62 to take a one-stroke lead into the final round, Lehman birdied four of the last five holes for 5-under 65 and a six-stroke victory over Jay Haas (69). He finished at 22-under 258 to break the tournament mark for lowest score and tie the record in relation to par set by John Cook in 2009 at Sonoma Golf Club in California. Lehman received a $1 million annuity in the points competition and earned $440,000 for the tournament victory. Bernhard Langer finished second in the points race, 435 points back after entering the week with a 211-point lead. He was sixth in the tournament at 11 under after 65.

LPGA: Stacy Lewis rallied to win the Mizuno Classic in Shima, Japan, for her LPGA-leading fourth title of the year with 8-under 64 for a one-stroke victory. Lewis, seven strokes behind Lee Bo-mee entering the round, finished at 11-under 205. Lee shot 72 to finish second. The event was co-sanctioned by the LPGA and Japan LPGA tours.

TEEN TO MASTERS: Guan Tianlang is an eighth-grader from China who barely weighs 125 pounds and doesn't hit the ball far enough to reach some par 4s. The next stop for the 14-year-old prodigy is the Masters. Guan completed a wire-to-wire victory in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at Bangkok, making a 5-foot par putt on the final hole for a one-shot win that earned him an invitation to the Masters. Guan closed with 1-under 71 to finish at 15-under 273. "I'm so excited. I'm really happy to become the youngest player at the Masters and looking forward to going there," Guan said. "I don't know what's going to happen there, but I know I just want to do well."

Ryder Cup star Poulter does it alone 11/04/12 [Last modified: Sunday, November 4, 2012 9:01pm]
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