WGC-HSBC Champions Recap: Rose Victory Stuns

WGC-HSBC Champions Recap: Rose Victory Stuns

This article is part of our Weekly Recap series.

Dustin Johnson's enormous six-stroke lead entering the final round of the WGC-HSBC Champions began to get smaller. He bogeyed the first hole, then the second. But even still, there really wasn't any sense he was in danger. The No. 1 golfer in the world remained calm, the Golf Channel announcers stayed level. Hours later, even when the lead was down to a single stroke with four holes to play, what was happening still didn't really register.

The only way to explain it is: We were watching something taking place halfway around the world in China in the middle of the night here, and it didn't seem quite real. Johnson couldn't possibly lose a six-stroke lead. It wasn't something happening all at once; it was slow-motion drip, drip, drip.

But only after Johnson bogeyed Nos. 15 and 16, while Justin Rose was birdieing both 16 and 17 in the group ahead, did it really sink: Holy Jean van de Velde! Johnson was about to tie the record for blowing the biggest 54-hole lead in PGA Tour history.

Rose stunningly wound up with a two-stroke victory over Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Henrik Stenson at Sheshan International in Shanghai, the Englishman's first win since capturing Olympic gold at the 2016 Rio Games. Rose's deficit, mind you, wasn't six entering Sunday – that was Koepka's. Rose was eight back.

"The beginning of the day, I was playing for second," Rose said flatly, according to the Associated Press.

Okay, here's the historical context:

Johnson matched

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Len Hochberg
Len Hochberg has covered golf for RotoWire since 2013. A veteran sports journalist, he was an editor and reporter at The Washington Post for many years. He was named 2020 "DFS Writer of the Year" by the FSWA and was nominated for the same award in 2019.
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