By PGATOUR.COM staff
Dustin Johnson lost his three-shot lead but found it again late to win the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions on Sunday at Sheshan International.
After a bogey on the opening hole, Johnson posted six straight pars to fall behind both Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell, who were playing in the final group with Johnson. He responded with two birdies around the turn and a back-nine 31 that featured a hole-out eagle on the short par-4 16th to close it out.
For Johnson, who started his 2013-14 PGA TOUR Season this week, it's the second consecutive season he's opened with a victory.
Poulter finished alone in second, right where he started the day, three off the pace with McDowell another shot back.
Sergio Garcia, who closed with the day's best round (63) was alone in fourth while Justin Rose rounded out the top 5.
Ian Poulter has been saying on Twitter for weeks that his game was close to peaking, and he was right.
Poulter's Saturday 63 puts him only three shots behind a dominant Duston Johnson. The Brit will have the chance at successfully defending his World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions title on Sunday when he tees off with Johnson in the final round.
Poulter will have to rally, but his game is rolling after a 17 birdies and two eagles through 54 holes.
"I just need to do my thing tomorrow and make a lot more than what he does," Poulter said. "I'm going to have to see what happens coming down the stretch. It will always be great to be in the last group, seeing what's going on. It fires you up even more."
A win would give Poulter one of the final spots in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, where he's played only twice in his career. He finished in the top 10 both times at Kapalua.
Both of Poulter's PGA TOUR wins have occured at World Golf Championship events. He won the 2010 World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, then won the 2012 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions after a blistering 65-65 finish on the weekend.
"I have to do my thing tomorrow. It's only Saturday. You can't win tournaments on Saturday," Poulter said. "It's all about playing well on Sunday. I need to do that. I need to make plenty of birdies, try and make an eagle; if I can, I can get close."
By PGATOUR.COM staff
The third round of the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions was a round where players either needed to make birdies in bunches or get left behind.
Birdies alone weren't enough for Dustin Johnson, who had 10 Saturday but double bogeyed two holes on the inward nine to post a 6-under 66 that left him three clear of Ian Poulter after 54 holes.
"If you would have told me I would shoot 6 under before teeing off today, I'd have taken it," Johnson said. "Obviously left a few shots out there."
Johnson entered the day five clear of the pack and had that same advantage on the 18th tee when he blocked his drive into a water hazard and went on to drop a pair of shots on the finishing hole.
Poulter, the defending champion, had eight birdies and an eagle in his 63 that would have tied the course record if Martin Kaymer hadn't reached the clubhouse in 62 about an hour earlier.
Graeme McDowell was alone in third, four off the pace after his 64. Graham DeLaet (65), Justin Rose (65) and Rory McIlroy (67) were two more shots back at 12 under.
Kaymer started the day at even par after rounds of 70 and 74 at Sheshan International but climbed as high as a share of third on the leaderboard as he racked up 10 birdies (while taking pars on a pair of par-5s) on a course he won on in 2011.
Kaymer was gunning for a 59, but parred the final two holes.
"I didn't really play much different than the last few days," Kaymer said. "I just made a few putts, a couple unexpected ones."
Johnson, a seven-time PGA TOUR winner, is looking to claim a victory in his debut event for the second consecutive season.
Ian Poulter made five consecutive birdies on the front nine (holes 3-7) and added one at No. 9 to make the turn in 30, reach 12 under and become the closest in pursuit of leader Dustin Johnson at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions. Click above to check out Poulter as he attempts to win this event for the second year in a row.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Steve Stricker cut back his schedule and played some of the best golf of his career, finishing with eight top 10s, including four runner-up finishes, in just 13 starts.
Adam Scott has played less around the world the last two years and in April won his first career major before finishing with his first multiple win season on the PGA TOUR in nearly a decade.
Last week, Phil Mickelson talked about altering his schedule in advance of next year's U.S. Open -- the only major he has yet to win.
Ian Poulter, however, said he doesn't plan to change his schedule despite their success. The difference of course is that Poulter balances membership on the PGA TOUR and European Tour.
"I just have to be very careful with my schedule," Poulter said from this week's World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China, where he is the defending champion. "It's just about being clever with the schedule to make sure you're not doing too many trips across the pond and that you can stay as fresh as possible."
That can be easier said than done, though.
To maintain a PGA TOUR card, players must make 15 starts. On the European Tour, that number dips to 13. This week's event counts toward both.
This year is also of the first of the PGA TOUR's wrap-around schedule with last season ending just two weeks prior to the start of a new season -- with The Presidents Cup sandwiched in between.
Next year is a Ryder Cup year, and the FedExCup Playoffs will be played over four straight weeks rather than having a week off in the middle.
"It's a busy year, and it's obviously difficult to fit in as many tournaments as you'd like or people would like you to play year‑in, year‑out," Poulter said. "We've seen a number of people that have shortened their calendar this year, and they have done exceptionally well.
"The guys that are playing both sides of the bond have a commitment to make to uphold their cards, and it's difficult."
Poulter has 16 career wins around the world, but only one of them has come in the U.S.
So what's the solution?
There isn't an easy one when it comes to maintaining membership on two tours.
"I feel sometimes we are pressured in some way to play golf as much as we are," Poulter said. "And we have to be very, very careful with our schedule to make sure that we have a fine balance of a good home life and a good business balance to be able to make sure we're playing the best golf we possibly can."
NORTON, Mass. -- Obviously all eyes will be on the final trio off the tee as Sergio Garcia takes a two-stroke lead over Henrik Stenson and a three-stroke edge on Graham DeLaet into the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship.
But the three players paired together two groups ahead of the leaders -- Kevin Stadler, Ian Poulter and Marc Leishman -- also have visions of victory, as well as playing their way into next week's BMW Championship.
Stadler started the week ranked 75th in the FedExCup, one spot ahead of Leishman and two up Poulter. Right now, all three are projected to move into the top 70 who qualify but they need to continue to play well in the final round.
Stadler is 14 under after a 64 on Sunday while Poultter is one stroke behind and Leishman is in a big group at 12 under. The group tees off No. 1 at 11:10 a.m. ET.
Click here to follow Stadler, Poulter and Lieshman on ShotTracker.
Click here to see the Projected FedExCup Standings.
Ian Poulter finished third at last year's PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. (Greenwood/Getty Images)
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Ian Poulter loves to sleep. In fact, he calls himself "half-man, half-mattress."
To assure optimum slumber, he tapes the curtains in his hotel room to the wall and covers any LED screens on clocks or computers so there is complete darkness. So it's easy to see why Poulter is keen on his 1:55 p.m. tee time in Thursday's first round of the PGA Championship.
"Set my alarm for 10 o'clock and I'll have probably 12 hours kip," Poulter says, using the British slang for sleep. "It's easy. For me, I love sleeping."
Once he steps to the first tee at Oak Hill on Thursday, though, Poulter knows he needs to be at the top of his game.
The entertaining Englishman has had some good finishes in majors of late, four top-10s in his last seven starts, including a pair of ties for third. But while he has responded to the pressure on Sunday, just has he does in every Ryder Cup match he plays, Poulter has just given himself too much ground to make up with mistakes in the first three rounds.
Take The Open Championship, for example. Poulter started the final round at Muirfield eight strokes off the pace being set by Lee Westwood but closed with a 67 that moved him into a tie for third.
He got himself into the mix on Sunday with an eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie spurt as he made the turn. But now with the luxury of hindsight, Poulter rues those four bogeys he made on the last five holes on Thursday and two of the last three on Saturday.
"I guess I just haven't been close enough come Sunday morning," Poulter said. "... So it's about me staying focused for 18 holes and trying not to make those silly mistakes and trying to find myself in a better position come Sunday morning.
"So when I have got those opportunities and chances, then I'm not four or five back and really hoping the guys up in front falter; it's about me getting myself in position come Sunday afternoon into the back nine and see if I can just press forward.
"It's silly mistakes that have been very costly over the years."
Poulter acknowledges that he might not be under enough pressure on Thusday, Friday and Saturday. "It's no secret that I've played some great golf under pressure," the lanky Brit said, noting that the fire will need to come from within.
"I feel that I would have obviously a better chance if I play better on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday and I've got myself, you know, my nose in front," Poulter said. "I think my stats have probably proven that; that when my nose is in front, I've played very well and often I've been able to finish the job off.
"I'd like to find myself in that position a bit more often on a Saturday night, because it will stop these gray hairs coming through."
Poulter made an eagle and three straight birdies in the middle of his round Sunday. (Redington/Getty Images)
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GULLANE, Scotland -- Ian Poulter wasn't focused on a number. He just knew he needed to make birdies instead of bogeys on Sunday if he was going to have a shot to win The Open Championship.
After all, he was eight strokes behind Lee Westwood when he went to bed on Saturday night. But Poulter had played in enough Open Championships to know a lot can happen in the final round, and he thought he was playing well enough to stir the pot.
"I felt the way I've played this week, I definitely have put myself in a lot of good positions to make birdies, and I probably haven't taken as many as I wanted to," Poulter said. "So I just felt that if I could stay patient today, take a few chances, don't make silly mistakes, then I could definitely move up that board. ...
"You just realize that Paul Lawrie came from 10 back. There was a six-shot swing in four holes last year. This tournament does it year in, year out, and it creates a lot of drama. You've just got to find yourself in position around the back nine and see if it's good enough."
Poulter put himself in that position, too, when he channeled his Ryder Cup persona and went eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie as he made the turn. The Englishman suddenly was even par for the tournament and the leaders certainly were taking notice.
"As tough as this golf course is to get rewarded with making some putts for birdies, it's a really nice feeling, because sometimes it takes a long time to make a couple of birdies in a row," Poulter said. "Sometimes you just feel like this golf course is beating you up all day.
Poulter bogeyed the 16th hole and couldn't get it back at the par-5 17th but when all was said and done, his round of 67 had moved him into a tie for third with AAdam Scott and Lee Westwood. But he waited around until Phil Mickelson's victory was assured and was among those congratulating his caddy Bones MacKay as the popular lefthander was doing his TV rounds.
"I think I've been frustrated on the golf course in the last few months because I know I've been playing very, very well," Poulter said. "And I don't seem to get frustrated in this golf tournament. I'm here in front of home fans. I really enjoy this event. I enjoy that it's difficult."
But there were times on Sunday when Poulter made it look easy
GULLANE, Scotland -- Playing like he thinks he teed it up at the Ryder Cup instead of The Open Championship on Sunday, Ian Poulter has moved into a tie for third, two strokes off Lee Westwood's lead.
Poulter eagled the ninth hole, then reeled off birdies on his next three holes to get back to even par for the tournament. He had a chance for a fourth straight, too, but his 15-footer at the par-3 14th stopped about an inch to the left of the cup.
About an hour before he teed off, Poulter posted what is turning out to be a very prophetic tweet: "Lets see if we can get into the mix by the end of today's round. Slowly slowly try and get back into position. @The_Open quality."
Poulter finished ninth at last year's Open Championship. His career best came in 2008 when he finished second, four strokes behind Padraig Harrington at Royal Birkdale.