Louis Oosthuizen sat atop the leaderboard after the first three rounds of the WGC-HSBC Champions. Going into the final round, it was apparent he would have to post a round better than the 2-under 70 he carded for his third. He could only muster a even-par 72.
That left the door open for Ian Poulter.
The fiery Brit recorded his second consecutive 7-under-par 65 to take home the top prize from Mission Hills and snared another World Golf Championship title. Poulter had previously claimed the Accenture Match Play in 2010 and now owns a pair of WGC titles. He vaulted over some pretty distinguished names in nabbing his second WGC title as well.
Along with Oosthuizen, third round co-leader Lee Westwood would only manage an ever-par 72 for his final round.
Two-time winner Phil Mickelson started his final round in the same group as Oosthuizen and Westwood, and had a good round going after posting a 4-under 32 on his front nine. The back nine let him down as Lefty would shoot an even-par 36 to finish the event in a second place tie along with Jason Dufner, Scott Piercy, and Ernie Els. All were two strokes back of Poulter.
Poulter began his third round tied with Els and Bill Haas. Neither could stay in contact of him during their final rounds either. Els would fire a 5-under-par 67, but it wasn’t enough. Haas could only muster a 1-under 70 and fell to 10th on the final leaderboard.
After a front nine score of 4-under-par 32, Poulter started his final nine holes with four birdies within six holes. On his final three, only a bogey on the sinister par-3 17th would bite him. But it didn’t bite hard enough as no one could manage to put a string of birdies together in order to catch him.
The reputation Poulter has built is that of a match play specialist. He has performed extremely well in Ryder Cup matches. His record heading into Medinah was an astounding 8-3. He won all four of his matches in the recent Ryder Cup and now owns an overall Ryder Cup match record of 11-3. Add that Poulter has never lost a Ryder Cup singles match (in four matches), and I’d say that reputation has been well earned.
Now, maybe others will look at him in a different light.
Catch Poulter’s interview after capturing the title.