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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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  1. arvan

    Nov 6, 2012 at 3:16 am

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Equipment

Spotted: Phil Mickelson testing Callaway’s mini driver

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There is some serious equipment testing going on at Pinehurst’s legendary No. 2 course before the 2024 U.S. Open starts! We spotted renowned club tinkerer Phil Mickelson on the range with a new setup. He was testing out the new Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Ti 340 Mini Driver with a new Mitsubishi Diamana BB (Blue Board) shaft.

Phil has long been a mini driver/2-wood/strong 3-wood guy, as he was the inspiration for the Callaway “Phranken Wood” about 10 years ago. For many pros, adding a strong 3-wood or mini driver allows them to turn it over easier and add a more consistent draw to their bag off the tee without losing too much distance.

Mitsubishi’s Diamana BB is the newest mid-launch shaft in the Diamana line. The “BB” on the shaft of course references the iconic Blue Board shafts from 20 years ago and this model will have a similar smooth feel.

 

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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2024 U.S. Open

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GolfWRX is live this week from the third major of the season: the U.S. Open at historic Pinehurst No. 2.

Qualifier WITBs are the stars the the show so far — along with in-hand looks at what Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau are playing.

Check back throughout the week as we continue to add more galleries.  

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

See what GolfWRXers are saying about the photos from the U.S. Open in the forums. 

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Equipment

Why Wyndham Clark is playing a brand-new driver and an old putter this week

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Editor’s note: This is an excerpt of an article originally filed for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report by our Andrew Tursky. Read the full piece here. 

At the top end of the bag, Clark is set to change into Titleist’s new GT2 driver during the first week it’s being made available to PGA TOUR players. On Monday, Titleist officially unveiled its new lineup of GT drivers and fairway woods, and Clark plans to become one of the early adopters of the new technology as competition begins on Thursday at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

Interestingly, Clark was relatively late to make a permanent switch into the company’s previous TSR3 driver. Although the TSR drivers first launched in 2022, Clark was back-and-forth with the 2020 TSi3 driver and the 2022 TSR3 driver until the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2024.

On Wednesday, GolfWRX.com caught up with Clark to get his take on the new GT2 driver, and why he’s switching so quickly.

“It’s faster (than my previous TSR3),” Clark said. “I felt like I got 2-3 mph more ball speed, which is amazing. And it has really consistent spin, which is obviously huge for what we do out here.”

…On the bottom end of the bag, Clark will likely play his first event since 2023 without an Odyssey Jailbird putter in the bag.

In case you forgot, Clark and Rickie Fowler were the trendsetters who brought the 2014 Odyssey Versa Jailbird back to the forefront of the golf market in 2023. Clark then switched into the upgraded Odyssey Ai Jailbird during the week of his win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

This week, however, Clark is going back in time, switching into a PXG prototype mallet that he used in 2022.

Read the full piece at PGATour.com

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