Ian Poulter wins WGC Champions after Lee Westwood fades

Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter

Ian Poulter secured his first win of the year with a closing round of 65 at the WGC Champions in Shenzhen.

The Englishman, 36, who won his four games in Europe's Ryder Cup win in September, produced eight birdies in his first 15 holes to take control.

Poulter delighted by WGC win in China

Overnight leaders Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen only managed rounds of level par, and Poulter came from four shots back to win by two.

Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson were in a four-way tie for second.

United States duo Jason Dufner and Scott Piercy also finished two shots behind Poulter.

Poulter, who finished fourth at the BMW Masters last week, said: "It's been an amazing five or six weeks with the Ryder Cup and then coming here in good spirits.

"I played well last week and took a lot from that. I knew that if I stayed patient I'd be right there at the end.

"I feel confident with the putter right now. It's so nice to get my hands on another trophy and get back in the winner's circle."

Westwood led by three shots in the early stages but a double bogey at the short fifth stopped his momentum, before three bogeys on the back nine ended his hopes and he finished tied sixth with Oosthuizen.

With the overnight leaders out of contention, Mickelson, Els and defending champion Martin Kaymer were Poulter's biggest threats, only for the German to triple-bogey the short 17th.

Els, failed with a 45-foot birdie attempt at the last, with a bogey on the penultimate hole meaning Mickelson had to hole his second shot on the 18th to force a play-off.

The three-time Masters champion could only manage a par and now goes on to play at next week's Singapore Open.

"I'll see if I can improve one spot there," he said. "It was good for me to come back after having not played since the Ryder Cup and pick up where I left off."

Another man who will be in Singapore is Rory McIlroy, who along with Tiger Woods, skipped Mission Hills but holds a 800,000 euro lead at the top of the European Tour money list after nearest challengers Justin Rose and Peter Hanson finished in a tie for 24th.

McIlroy tweeted his congratulations to Poulter,external-link saying: "Ballsy up and down at the last, wouldn't expect anything less!"

Poulter, only the second European after Darren Clarke to win two WGC events, has climbed to fourth in the Race to Dubai and 15 in the world rankings.

"Two world championships are great, of course, but a major is the biggest dream," he concluded. "People keep asking all the time 'when, when, when'. I don't know when and I'm trying really hard - I'll do my best next year."