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Birdie barrage in China gives Poulter his 2nd WGC title

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Just weeks after a dominating performance at the Ryder Cup, Ian Poulter fired a final-round 65 to recoup a four-stroke deficit from Ryder Cup teammate Lee Westwoood and capture the World Golf Championships-WHC HSBC Champions title in China.

The win came against a limited field of 78 which included seven of the world’s top 10 along with 16 Ryder Cup participants. It was Poulter’s first title since the 2011 World Match Play and 2nd WGC title (he also won the 2010 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship).

“I’ve only been one season without a victory and I certainly didn’t want to go another one,” Poulter said. “As well as I’ve played this year, it would have been a disappointment personally to have gone the year without winning.”

The tournament was held at the 7301-yard Olazabel course at Mission Hills Golf Club, but it could hardly defend itself from the birdie onslaught over the weekend that consisted of five different lead changes on Sunday by a list of major championship-type pursuers.

For the victory, Poulter had to chase down Round 3 leaders Louis Oosthuizen and Lee Westwood. Also win the mix was Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner and Scott Piercy, who all tied for second at 19-under. Mickelson had a legitimate opportunity to win, but with a bogey at the par-4 12th that was followed by a rally killing 4 at the par-3 17th, his chances were squandered.

“I saw what he was doing,” Mickelson said. “I was aware, 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.”

Westwood and Oostheuizen struggled in the final round, shooting rounds of even-par 72. Westwoood’s round was the polar opposite of his 11-birdie 61 on Saturday. After battling a cool putter on the front side, he faltered on the back nine with three bogeys. Oosthuizen repeated his Deutsche Bank performance with white hot play in the first three rounds followed by an uneventful Sunday. Both players finished in a tie for 6th.

Poulter opened his Sunday with four birdies on the front side to push him towards the top of the leader board and he followed that with four more on the back to solidify the victory. Poulter’s only blip came on the par-3 17th, where he made his first bogey of the day. But Poulter composed himself on the final hole, where things started to get nervy for the Englishman.His approach shot on the closing hole left him in a greenside bunker, but he recovered to 8 feet, a putt which he knocked in for a two-shot victory and a $1.2 million pay day.

“I’ve already spent the check last week,” Poulter said after the round. “Yes, it was a vehicle and yes, it was very expensive.”

It’s a good thing he came to play on Sunday.

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John Wunder was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. He moved to Southern California when he had the rare opportunity of working in the Anaheim Angels clubhouse and has been living in Cali. ever since. He has a severe passion/addiction for the game and has been a member of GolfWRX since 2005. He now works as the Director of Development and Production for The Coalition Group in Los Angeles, Calif.

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  1. arvan

    Nov 6, 2012 at 3:16 am

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Tour News

Tiger Woods fires second-round 76, will miss Genesis Open cut

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Tiger Woods’ trip to Los Angeles is over sooner than he’d hoped. Woods fired a 5-over 76 during the second round of the Genesis Open to miss the presumed cut at Riviera by four strokes (the second round won’t be completed until Saturday morning due to darkness).

Hopes were high Woods would continue to build on a T-23 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, as the driving woes that plagued him at Torrey Pines followed him to the Riv, despite changing shafts in his TaylorMade M3.

RELATED: Tiger Woods WITB

Wayward off the tee, Woods made eight bogeys Friday, unable to grind out a decent score as he did with his opening-round 1-over 72. He was unable to rely on his putter the way did in this first round, three-putting back-to-back holes (No. 11 and 12). A stretch of three straight bogeys sunk Woods’ hopes of hanging around for the weekend.

(c/o PGATour.com)

We won’t have to wait long to see the Big Cat back in action, however, as Woods committed to next week’s Honda Classic at PGA National in Florida. Woods most recently put a peg in the ground at the course in 2014, where he ultimately withdrew due to back spasms.

The 79-time PGA Tour winner hasn’t teed it in back-to-back weeks since 2015, so while fans may not be encouraged by his play, at least he continues to be free from any issues with his surgically repaired back.

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Tiger Woods shoots an opening-round 72 (1-over) at the 2018 Genesis Open

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After hitting just 17 fairways all week at the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open, where he finished T23, Tiger Woods switched driver shafts and added 0.75 degrees of loft in his TaylorMade M3 driver ahead of the 2018 Genesis Open this week. He went from using a Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 70TX shaft, to a Matrix TP6HDe shaft — he used a TP7HDe shaft back in 2015.

So how did the switch work out for him at Riviera CC on Thursday?

Well, he hit driver 9 times during his round of 72 strokes; four went right — one of which got lost in a tree and he had to re-tee — one went left, and four found the fairway. He hit 8-of-14 fairways in total; no Fred Funk, but an improvement. Woods’ bigger issue on Thursday, actually, was that he hit only 7 greens in regulation, leaving himself a few tricky up-and-downs. Despite hitting only 38 percent of greens, Woods managed to make 5 birdies, and he continues displaying prowess on the greens (1.784 Strokes Gained Putting, and 82 feet worth of putts made).

He also showed some flashes of old Tiger with Arnie-esque follow through.

Of course, that means he missed the fairway way right, and he did go onto bogey the hole, but the shot made for some excitement on golf twitter, at least.

According to @RandallMellGC, Tiger described his round in a post-round interview: “I fought hard. I made a few simple, silly mistakes, bad shots here and there, missed on the wrong side, made a few birdies as well. 1-over’s not bad.”

Yea, that’s about right.

Tiger currently sits at T66, and six shots off the leader. Lots of golf to play, but he’ll likely be contending with the cutline come Friday afternoon. How do you think Tiger will finish this week at the 2018 Genesis Open?

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Bill Haas injured in fatal car crash in Los Angeles

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Bill Haas was involved in a fatal car crash in Pacific Palisades, Calif., site of the Genesis Open, Tuesday night.

The 35-year-old was riding in the passenger seat of a Ferrari driven by a member of the family with whom Haas is staying this week. According to LA County fire officials, the Ferrari collided with a BMW driven by a 50-year-old woman. Haas and the driver of the BMW were transported to a local hospital. The 71-year-old male driver of the Ferrari was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Ferrari also reportedly “clipped” a vehicle driven by actor Luke Wilson prior to the rollover. Wilson was not injured, per a police report.

Per PGATour.com, Bill Haas’ manager, Allen Hobbs of Players Group Management, released the following statement Wednesday morning.

“Last night in Pacific Palisades, California, Bill Haas was involved in a serious car accident in which the driver—a member of the family with whom Haas and his family were staying for the Genesis Open—was killed. While Bill escaped serious injuries and has been released from the hospital, he is understandably shaken up and—more importantly—his deepest condolences go out to the host family during this tragic and difficult time.“

“Bill will withdraw from the Genesis Open and plans to head home to Greenville to recover. He appreciates the support of friends, family and the golf world as a whole, and he has asked for privacy as he processes what has happened.“

Geoff Shackelford tweeted this video of the KTLA coverage of the crash.

Bill Haas’ father, Jay, spoke with Todd Lewis on Golf Channel’s morning drive earlier in the day, saying his son was “very fortunate.” Beyond swelling in one of his legs and pain, Haas sustained no serious injuries, according to his father.

See the discussion in the forums here

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