(Reuters) - Justin Rose roared back from an eight-stroke deficit to claim a stunning two-shot win at the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai on Sunday after world number one Dustin Johnson threw away the tournament with a record-tying collapse.
Eight strokes adrift of Johnson on the first tee, Englishman Rose fired a five-under 67, tearing up the back nine with five birdies at Sheshan Golf Club as the American gave up a six-stroke lead to finish runnerup with Henrik Stenson and Brooks Koepka.
Johnson, who had been bidding to become the first to win three WGC titles in a year, instead joined Sergio Garcia and Greg Norman with the record for the largest blown lead in surrendering a PGA Tour event.
Garcia lost at Quail Hollow in 2005, with Norman’s famous meltdown coming at the 1996 Masters.
“I kind of played matchplay against the golf course,” said former U.S. Open winner Rose, who finished the $9.75 million event with a 14-under total of 274.
”I kind of figured I was playing for second. I thought 13 (under) was going to be an important number to get to.
“Then obviously I saw DJ get back to about 14 or 15 (under) and then the game was on. So it was certainly exciting coming down the stretch.”
Rose was heartbroken earlier in the year when he was denied his second major title at the Masters by Garcia and also missed out with runnerup finishes at the Sony Open in Hawaii and the BMW Championship last month.
“This is really, really satisfying,” said the 37-year-old.
”I’ve won every year since 2010 and I was very aware that that was kind of slipping away from me this year.
“I certainly left it late but to win a WGC is just amazing, obviously. They count for so much.”
While Rose was sublime, launching his victory charge after consecutive bogeys at the eighth and ninth holes, an ashen-faced Johnson trudged grimly through Sheshan as his game fell apart in a five-over 77.
Having dominated fellow American Koepka in a third round shootout, Johnson was straight on the back foot on Sunday bogeying his first two holes and finishing the day without a single birdie.
A frustrating run of nine pars was the precursor to his meltdown, which began in earnest with a third bogey at the par-four 12th.
After landing his approach short, he missed a putt from five feet to save par, cutting his lead to two.
A further bogey followed on 15 and Rose, one hole ahead, ramped up the pressure with a birdie on the 16th.
Needing to respond, Johnson miscued his tee shot at 16, popped his approach shot into a greenside bunker and missed a seven-foot putt for bogey number five.
While nothing was going right, hope still flickered for the long-hitting American, who could still force a playoff with an eagle on the par-five 18th.
Going for broke, Johnson’s second shot caught the edge of the green but rolled down into a water hazard, an apt finish to a miserable day.
Former world number one Jason Day shot a 68 to finish in a group tied for 11th and Phil Mickelson (67) also closed strongly to be T15.
Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty