Shanghai, China: American Bubba Watson produced two moments of magic on the 18th hole to seal a play-off triumph over South African Tim Clark at the US$8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions.
Watson looked to be heading for disappointment at the Sheshan International Golf Club after he bogeyed 16 followed by a double-bogey five on 17.
However, the two-time Masters winner holed a spectacular bunker shot for eagle on the final hole of regulation to force a tie with Clark, who also finished regulation play on 11-under-par 277.
“Walking to 18 after making double-bogey, I knew that I still had a chance. Then it was one of those lifetime kind of shots. I didn’t know how to react and so I just kind of screamed and I lost my voice a little bit,” said Watson.
Watson then produced another masterclass on his return to 18 by sinking a 20-foot birdie putt to win his first title outside the United States after Clark had left his birdie attempt short.
“It means a lot to me to win outside the US as that’s one of my goals for my career. To win a World Golf Championships, one of our premier events, and again outside the US is very special,” said Watson.
Clark looked in pole position to win the WGC-HSBC Champions in regulation when he hit his third shot to six feet at the par-five 18th en route to closing with a three-under-par 69.
However, Watson’s amazing recovery followed by another heroic moment during the play-off meant the South African had to settle for second best.
“I never expected to be in this position at the start of the week. I fought hard and I knew I needed to birdie in the play-off. I just needed to play the play-off hole better and obviously I’m disappointed to be that close,” said Clark.
Japan’s Hiroshi Iwata finished tied for third with American Rickie Fowler and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell.