Poulter rides Ryder momentum, wins WGC-HSBC

By Associated PressNovember 4, 2012, 3:03 pm

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.


Mosier: Poulter relishes another trophy


'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. '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 5-foot par putt on No. 12, while Els dropped a shot on the 14th when his 3-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 on 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 5-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 that 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 unraveling 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 World Golf Championship event since the series began in 1999. He struggled with his putting for a second consecutive day and had four bogeys.

With the $1.2 million winner's paycheck, Poulter moves up to fourth spot in the European Tour's Race to Dubai. The money will also come in handy considering he just treated himself to a new car.

'I've already spent the check last week,' he said. 'Yes, it was a vehicle and yes, it was very expensive.'

Poulter moved up to a No. 15 ranking, one spot better than where he started the season.

Brandt Snedeker followed his career-best 60 in the third round with a 71 and was never a factor. The bigger turnaround belonged to Dustin Johnson, who was 18 shots better than his third-round score. Johnson followed his 84 Saturday by closing with a 66.

Getty Images

Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

Getty Images

Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

Getty Images

Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

Getty Images

Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."