Shanghai, China: England’s Justin Rose produced one of the greatest comebacks in recent golfing history as he overcame an eight-shot overnight deficit to win the WGC-HSBC Champions.
The Olympic gold medallist started the day tied for fourth with world number one Dustin Johnson of the United States atop the leaderboard, holding a seemingly unassailable six-stroke advantage.
While Rose signed off with a five-under 67 at Sheshan International Golf Club, Johnson stumbled to a five-over 77.
It was the third-best comeback victory in PGA Tour history. The eight-stroke come-from-behind victory also sets a personal best for Rose, a tournament best and a World Golf Championships record.
Rose went out in 36 with three bogeys to match his three birdies on the front nine, but shot a five-under 31 on the back nine for the two-stroke victory over Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Henrik Stenson. Rose trailed Johnson by six shots with nine holes remaining after bogeys at the eighth and ninth holes.
Rose said: “It’s unbelievable. We all know the position DJ was in, and I think today was the kind of day that the leader probably didn’t want … the kind of day where that kind of swing is possible.
“I shot five-under in tough conditions and he had to play good golf to keep it around par today, and obviously he made a few mistakes. It was really tricky out there, and I played one of the best back nines I’ve played in a long time.
“To shoot 31 on the back to come through, saved my best till last. It’s been a long time since I’ve won, or at least it feels like that. Well, I’ve won every year since 2010, if you include the Olympics last year; that was my only win. This is only win in 2017. I left it late this year but it feels amazing.”
Johnson struggled to get his game going. Unlike the previous three days where he marked his card with a total of 22 birdies, the American failed to get a single birdie on the day which matters most.
He said: “The conditions were tough today. I felt like I actually drove it pretty well, other than the drive on two.
“Even making the turn, I’m two-over, which is fine. I know I’ve got to just play solid on the back nine. I didn’t make any putts. I felt like I rolled it good. Just nothing was going in the hole.
“I hit a couple really bad iron shots. That was probably the key there on 14. I just chunked it. Same thing on 15; I chunked it. That cost me two shots there. And then bogeying 16, that’s just bad. So, I just gave a few away.”
Indian SSP Chawrasia closed with a 72 to take a share of 31st place while Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Gavin Green of Malaysia signed off in tied-38th place after a final round 77.
Lausanne, Switzerland: The International Golf Federation Board convened a virtual meeting yesterday focused on long-term strategic planning and progress toward next summer’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.