Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ryder Cup star wins an event for himself

Poulter claims HSBC Champions title

  • Print

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

One month after leading an improbable European rally in the Ryder Cup, Poulter won for the first time this year. He closed with a 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 and winning his singles match 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 his two-shot win at Mission Hills, which earned him the $1.2 million winner's paycheque. "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 each shot a 72 in the final round to tie for sixth.

Poulter won for the first time since the World Match Play Championship in Spain in 2011. His other WGC title came in 2010 in Arizona at the Match Play Championship. Turns out he can also get it done in stroke play.

On a day when five players had at least a share of the lead at some point -- and several others were close -- it was the charismatic Poulter who was the steadiest. Starting the day four shots behind, he surged into the lead with four birdies on the front nine and two more after making the turn.

Mickelson and Els tried to stay close, but both wasted opportunities to pull even. Mickelson missed a five-foot par putt on No. 12, while Els dropped a shot on the 14th when his three-foot par putt caught the lip. He narrowly missed a birdie putt on the final hole.

"I know where I came up short," Els said. "But other than that, I played it really nice and struck it nice. Almost made him think there on 18, that putt almost went in."

Defending champion Martin Kaymer looked set to make a final-day comeback for the second straight year. Last year, the German birdied nine of his last 12 holes to rally from five shots down in the final round for an unlikely three-stroke victory. He started six shots behind Sunday and picked up five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine until a triple bogey on the 17th.

Poulter, meanwhile, sank a five-foot putt on the 14th hole for birdie and a two-stroke lead. Then, after setting himself up with a 20-foot putt on the tricky 15th hole, he lined up the shot perfectly and dropped it for birdie.

He was so composed he didn't even mind the cameras and cellphones in the gallery. He's even tried some Chinese to quiet the crowd this week.

"I'm not sure what I'm saying. I'm trying to say 'no telephones,' " he said with a laugh. "I backed away a number of times, but I was able to refocus knowing that there's probably going to be a few photos taken during the swing."

With Mickelson still in position to catch him, Poulter hit a difficult bunker shot on the 18th to 10 feet and holed the putt to seal the win.

"I saw what he was doing. I was aware," Mickelson said. "So I tried to carve a few shots in to some of the pins and wasn't able to get close enough to them to make birdies to catch him."

It was another Englishman who started the day in front, playing the best golf of anyone in the field. Westwood putted brilliantly Saturday, making 11 birdies to shoot a 61, one of the lowest rounds of his career. Westwood jumped to a three-stroke advantage Sunday after making two birdies on the front nine. But that's when his putting began to break down.

On the par-3 No. 5, he three-putted for a double bogey. He then missed putts within 10 feet on three consecutive holes before completely unravelling on the back nine with three bogeys, including one on the 15th when he hit a chip shot into a group of photographers.

Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, was unable to regain the form that saw him reach 16 under after two rounds -- the lowest 36-hole score to par in a WGC event since the series began in 1999. He struggled with his putting for a second consecutive day and had four bogeys.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 5, 2012 C6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Your top TV picks for this week - December 8-12

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Korea Veterans Association stained glass window at Deer Lodge Centre. Dedication with Minister of Veterans Affairs Dr. Rey Pagtakhan. March 12, 2003.
  • A Canada goose flies towards the sun near the Perimeter Highway North and Main St Monday afternoon – See Day 10 for Bryksa’s 30 goose project - May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who should get more playing time in Jets net?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google