Bubba Watson holed out from the bunker on the 72nd hole to force a playoff and win the WGC HSBC Champions tournament.
Aside from the Australian Open, the WGC HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai is the last big, golf tournament of the year. A few of golf’s big names didn’t make it this year but we were treated to a spectacular finish.
With two holes remaining, six players were within one shot of the lead after Bubba Watson made double-bogey on the 17th to drop one stroke behind five players; Martin Kaymer, Tim Clark, Graeme McDowell, Hiroshi Iwata and Rickie Fowler.
Graeme McDowell had led for most of the tournament and at this point, all eyes were on him or Martin Kaymer to take out the tournament.
Kaymer always seems to flourish under the pressure but on the final hole he over-cooked his approach shot into the water to end any hopes he had of winning the title. Rickie Fowler also found the water on the difficult par-5 18th hole.
After Watson’s double-bogey on 17, the two-time Masters champion looked a little hot under the collar but few people would discount the big hitting Americans chances at the closing hole.
Watson sliced his approach shot into the left greenside trap and needed a stroke of brilliance to get it close to the hole.
Watson’s bunker shot was immaculate and trickled into the cup for a phenomenal eagle to take the clubhouse lead by a shot.
Minutes later, the much shorter hitting Tim Clark played the hole to perfection to make birdie and force a playoff. Iwata and McDowell also left themselves makeable birdie putts to join the playoff but both players missed.
At the first playoff hole, Watson once again found the same greenside bunker for his second shot but this time he didn’t hole out. After Clark missed his birdie putt, Watson was left with a tricky downhill 15 foot putt to win the tournament and he rolled it in to complete an incredible end to the golf tournament.
The win was Watson’s first WGC win, his third victory in 2014 and he may jump as high as number three on the world golf rankings.
The best of the Australians this week was Marc Leishman who finished strongly over the weekend. Two rounds of 3-under par 69 saw Leishman finish inside the top-10.
Adam Scott couldn’t get it going and finished in a tie for 12th place despite not shooting a round in the 60s.