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Johnson holds off Poulter, McDowell

ESPN staff
November 3, 2013 « Barney masters Van Gerwen in Edinburgh | Chartbeat test »
Johnson shows off his maiden World Golf Championships trophy © AP
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Dustin Johnson held off Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell on a riveting final day at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

The American's three-shot overnight lead was wiped out in the opening two holes at Sheshan International when he three-putted the first, while his rivals opened with a cluster of birdies to overtake him.

Birdies at eight and nine took Johnson back into a share of the lead, before Poulter edged in front again with birdie at 12. Johnson pulled level again at the very next hole and both players birdied the 14th to set up a grandstand finish.

But it was Johnson who found the next gear and chipped in for an eagle two at the par-4 16th before finishing birdie-par to match his playing partners' 66 and finish the day where he started it - three shots clear.

It was Johnson's eighth PGA Tour victory and his first on the European Tour.

"I didn't get off to the best start and Poulter and McDowell got off to great starts and put a lot of pressure on me," he said.

"But I am swinging well and putting well so I thought just stick to my game plan and play the golf course how I want to play it and it's going to come.

"I played really well the last few holes on the front nine and then had a great back nine. The guys made it really interesting but I just played really well coming down the stretch.

"The last few holes here you can make some birdies. It was a lot of fun out there, it was a good match from both of them. They put a lot of pressure on me but I am really proud of myself and the way I handled it."

Johnson has not always handled such pressure so well. McDowell famously won the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach after Johnson collapsed with a final-round 82.

"It takes a while to learn [patience]," Johnson added. "I wish I would have had some of that a few times a few years ago, but you learn from your mistakes and try to get better from them and I think I showed a lot of patience and a lot of discipline with clubs I picked and shot selection.

"This is probably my biggest win and hopefully there are better things to come."

Poulter climbs to fourth in the Race to Dubai, while McDowell trimmed Henrik Stenson's lead to less than €150,000 ahead of the season's penultimate event in Turkey next week.

"I guess it was a good defence," said 37 year old Poulter. "Obviously a little disappointed not to put my hands back on the trophy, but 15 birdies and an eagle at the weekend is some pretty good golf.

"It's exciting for the next few weeks ahead, and obviously it's some good points on the board for Ryder Cup and Race to Dubai.

"I'm in great form, I really am playing well. The work I've done, obviously leading up to this run of tournaments has really worked and I couldn't be hitting it any better right now and obviously rolling a few putts in."

© ESPN.co.uk
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