Bubba Watson won the final WGC event of 2014 in Shanghai China. The Masters champion came through a playoff against South Africa’s Tim Clark to take victory in the HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club.
It seemed as though Watson had lost his chance of victory when he double bogeyed the penultimate hole. But he bounced back with an incredible eagle at the last. He found the greenside bunker in two shots on the par-5 then holed his third from the sand.
On the first playoff hole, the left-hander found the same bunker on the 18th and this time made an excellent up-and-down for a birdie and the win.
“The bunker shot I holed was on the same line as the putt in the playoff,” he said. “To be honest I was trying to two-putt but it trickled down there and went in. For me this is a big win as I wanted to win outside the USA.”
Four things we learned at the WGC-HSBC Champions:
This was Bubba Watson’s third victory of 2014 and his first outside of the USA. The win has elevated him to third on the Official World Golf Ranking. Watson has won €3,499,781 in counting European Tour events in 2014. Were he a member of the European Tour, he’d be second on the Race to Dubai ranking – 2,000,000 points behind top ranked Rory McIlroy, but some 1,000,000 clear of next placed Jamie Donaldson.
Watson is only the fourth player to win a Major and a WGC event in the same season. The others to have done it are: Rory Mcilroy this year, Geoff Ogilvy in 2006 and Tiger Woods in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. The left-hander was the sixth different winner of this event in the six installments of the competition since it gained WGC status.
Four of the first five finishers in Shanghai were ineligible for the Race to Dubai. Graeme McDowell, who finished tied for third, was the top-placed European Tour member. He picked up 518,200 points and, as a result, has climbed to ninth on the Race to Dubai standings with just two events of the Final Series remaining. McDowell had led this tournament through 54-holes but he carded a disappointing final round 73 to drop down the board.
With two events of the Race to Dubai’s final series remaining only three men could now theoretically catch Rory McIlroy at the top of the standings – Jamie Donaldson, Sergio Garcia and Marcel Siem. But, it’s highly unlikely at this stage. Each of the three pursuers would have to win both next week’s Turkish Airlines Open and the DP World Tour Championship and hope that Rory has a shocker in Dubai to have any chance.