Justin Rose took advantage of a record-tying collapse by Dustin Johnson and rallied from eight shots behind to win the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
Johnson, the world’s No. 1 player going for his third World Golf Championships title of the year, lost a six-shot lead Sunday. That matched the PGA Tour record for largest blown lead in the final round, most recently by Sergio Garcia at Quail Hollow in 2005, and most famously by Greg Norman in the 1996 Masters.
A one-man show turned into a four-man race, and Rose seized on the surprising opportunity in a wild, wind-blown final round.
He shot 31 on the back nine, getting into the game with birdies on the 13th and 14th, saving par with a 10-foot putt on the 15th, and then taking the lead with a birdie on the reachable par-four16th and perhaps his best shot of the day to within three feet on the par-three 17th.
It added to a five-under 67, and he wound up winning by two shots.
“It’s unbelievable,” Rose said. “We all know the position DJ was in, and I think today was the kind of day that the leader probably didn’t want. Well, you want a six-shot lead any time, but this is the kind of day where that kind of swing is possible.”
Johnson, who made 22 birdies through 54 holes in building his six-shot lead, didn’t make one in the wind-blown final round. His last hope was to made eagle on the par-five closing hole at Sheshan International, and he smashed his second shot into the wind and over the water. It caught the right edge of the green before tumbling down the slope with enough pace to disappear into the water.
He finally made a putt — for par. He closed with a 77, his worst closing round with the lead since an 82 at Pebble Beach in the 2010 U.S. Open.
“I just could never get anything going and didn’t hole any putts,” Johnson said. “It was pretty simple.”
It was simply shocking.
Rose two-putted from long range on the 18th for par to finish at 14-under 274 and win for the first time since capturing the gold medal at the Olympics last summer in Rio de Janeiro. Rose now has won every year since 2010.
“I was very aware that was slipping away,” he said.
The HSBC Champions sure didn’t look like a tournament where he would keep that streak going, not when he was eight shots behind going into the final round against Johnson, who has been No. 1 in the world since running off three straight victories against strong fields in the spring.
Johnson tied for second with Henrik Stenson (70) and Brooks Koepka (71).
Rose won his second World Golf Championships title — the other was at Doral in 2012 — and moved to No. 6 in the world. Johnson gets a month off to consider one that got away from him in an ugly manner.
Kerr’s final birdie lifts her to Sime Darby win
Cristie Kerr holed a 35-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday for an even-par 71 and a one-shot victory in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.
Kerr was in a four-way tie for the lead until her big putt made her the 27th player in tour history with 20 victories. She was so proud of her winning putt that while waiting for photographers to line up for the trophy presentation, she paced off the putt again.
She won by one shot over Danielle Kang, Shanshan Feng and Jacqui Concolino.
The 40-year-old American became the first player in her 40s to win on the LPGA since Catriona Matthew won the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in 2011 at age 42. Kerr, who won for the second time this year, finished at 15-under 269.
Armour earns first PGA Tour win
Ryan Armour shot a four-under 68 to earn an impressive first career win at the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss. Armour started the final round with a five-shot lead and was never seriously challenged.
The 41-year-old won for the first time in 105 career starts, finishing at 19-under for a five-shot victory over Chesson Hadley.
Jonathan Randolph — a Jackson-area native playing on his home course — briefly made a charge with seven birdies over his first nine holes. That pushed him to 14 under, but Armour was able to maintain some separation thanks to three birdies on his first seven holes.
Randolph eventually cooled off and Armour methodically worked his way around the course. Hadley shot a 68. Randolph was third after shooting a 67 and finishing at 12 under.