Dustin Johnson produced a grandstand finish to hold off Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell and claim the biggest win of his career in the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
The US Ryder Cup player star, who saw his three-shot overnight lead wiped out in the first two holes, played the closing six holes in five-under-par at Sheshan International Golf Club to finish the day as he’d started it: three shots clear.
The win gave 29-year-old Dustin Johnson claimed his first on the European Tour, as well as his maiden World Golf Championship title an a cheque for €1,012,145.
“It's my biggest win I've had so far in my career and it feels really good,” said Dustin Johnson. “I put a lot of work in this year, and I've struggled a lot. I won the first event of the year and I struggled a little bit through the end. But you know, I've been putting in a lot of work the last month or two, and it definitely feels really good to get a win.”
Both Poulter and McDowell will find some consolation in gaining vital ground on Swede Henrik Stenson in the Race to Dubai, as well as significant Ryder Cup points.
“It's my biggest win I've had so far in my career and it feels really good,” - Dustin Johnson.
Defending champion Poulter said: “I guess it was a good defence. I’m 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."
With Stenson closing with a round of 65 for the second consecutive week in Shanghai, this time for a share of 31st position, McDowell made a significant inroad into the Swede’s advantage on the Race to Dubai, cutting it to just €145,866 with two events remaining of the Final Series.
“Obviously there is a pang of disappointment, but generally I’m just very proud of myself the way I played this week tee‑to-green,” said McDowell. “On the greens, there is room for improvement.
“But I didn't make a bogey all weekend. I shot 14-under on the weekend and hit the ball really well. I was chasing some great players. Dustin Johnson was in a different league off the tee and gave us a little bit of a sniff and then promptly slammed the door.”
Spaniard Sergio Garcia produced the lowest round of the day - a superb 63 - to finish fourth on 18-under, with US Open champion Justin Rose fifth on 16-under.
It was also an important week for former world No.1 Rory McIlroy who carded a 69 for a 15-under total and a share of sixth. That moved him from 62nd on the Race to Dubai to 38th, meaning he will qualify to defend his title in the DP World Tour Championship in a fortnight.
In the end, though, the day belonged to Dustin Johnson, who has now won an incredible ten times in little over six years as a professional.
Dustin Johnson: American idol
Dustin Johnson’s win in the WGC-HSBC Champions was the third by an American in the nine-year history of the event following Phil Mickelson’s victories in 2007 and 2009.