Defending champ Poulter shares lead in Shanghai

Defending champion Ian Poulter moved into a share of the lead with American Dustin Johnson as the WGC-HSBC Champions looked set for an exciting finish on Sunday.

Ian Poulter

Defending champion Ian Poulter moved into a share of the lead with American Dustin Johnson as the WGC-HSBC Champions looked set for an exciting finish on Sunday.

Poulter, aiming to become only the second player - after world number one Tiger Woods - to successfully defend a WGC title, began the final round three shots behind Johnson, who had been further ahead of the field until a double-bogey on the 18th on Saturday.

But that lead was wiped out in the space of just two holes in overcast conditions at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai.

A three-putt bogey at the first from Johnson, combined with two opening birdies from Poulter, saw the pair tied on 17 under and they were soon joined by the other member of the final group, Graeme McDowell making birdies at the first three holes.

Poulter then birdied the fifth to take the outright lead, only for McDowell to reply on the seventh to join his Ryder Cup team-mate at the top of the leaderboard.

A fourth birdie of the day on the par-five eighth took Poulter ahead once more, although Johnson also picked up his first shot of the day there following an excellent pitch to remain one behind.

Johnson then hit a superb approach to four feet on the ninth to make another birdie and join Poulter in the lead on 19 under, with McDowell a shot behind.

Spain's Sergio Garcia was three shots further back on 15 under after 10 holes, with Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose another shot adrift.

Johnson hit the best tee shot of the final group on the par-three 12th, but then watched as Poulter and McDowell both holed from further away for birdies.

Almost inevitably, Johnson then missed his own attempt from eight feet to leave Poulter in the outright lead on 20 under, with McDowell alongside Johnson on 19 under.

Garcia had not given up the chase and picked up his eighth birdie of the day on the par-five 14th to move to 17 under.

Johnson reclaimed a share of the lead with a birdie from six feet on the 13th and maintained his position with another on the par-five 14th despite finding rough off the tee and hitting a poor pitch to 15ft.

Poulter had found the green in two and safely two-putted for his birdie to join Johnson on 21 under, while McDowell brilliantly holed from 35ft for his birdie to remain one behind after his second shot finished in thick rough on the edge of a bunker.



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