Martin Kaymer made nine birdies over his last 12 holes Sunday and closed with a 9-under 63 to win the HSBC Champions for the biggest comeback ever in a World Golf Championship.
Starting the final round five shots behind Fredrik Jacobson, with a host of stars around him, Kaymer ran off four straight birdies to start the back nine at Sheshan International. The German finally caught Jacobson with a birdie on the 13th, and then poured it on with key birdies on the final two holes.
Kaymer delivered the lowest closing round by a WGC winner since the series began in 1999, topping the 64 by Hunter Mahan last year at the Bridgestone Invitational.
Kaymer is the 10th player to win a WGC and a major championship.
Adam Scott, got within two shots of the lead early in the round until making two soft bogeys and never recovering. He closed with a 73 and was eight shots behind.
Jacobson led by as many as three shots until a long three-putt bogey on the par-5 eighth. As Kaymer made his charge, the Swede came to life with birdies on the 12th and 14th to stay tied. Jacobson’s hopes ended, however, when he pulled his tee shot into the rough left of the par-3 17th and failed to get par. He shot 71 and finished three shots behind.
Graeme McDowell closed with two birdies for a 67 to finish alone in third, quite a turnaround from last week in the Andalucia Masters when he failed to break 80 over the last two rounds at Valderrama.
Rory McIlroy made a short birdie on the par-5 18th that gave him a 69 and was significant for one other reason. With a three-way tie for fourth, he moved past Lee Westwood to the No. 2 ranking. Westwood, playing in the same group, shot 40 on the front nine and closed with a 74 to tie for 13th.
It was the second win of the year for Kaymer, who moves to No. 4.
He won his first tournament of the year at Abu Dhabi and became the top-ranked player at the end of February, holding the spot for eight weeks. Kaymer said he struggled with the attention of being No. 1, and the face of golf in Germany.
Jay Don Blake won the Charles Schwab Championship on Sunday for his second victory of the season following a 20-year drought, and Tom Lehman took the season points title and $1 million annuity.
Blake closed with an even-par 71 for a two-stroke victory in the Champions Tour’s season finale. He finished at 8-under 276 at TPC Harding Park.
Mark Calcavecchia, Loren Roberts, Michael Allen and Jay Haas tied for second.
Lehman shot a 72 to tie for 18th at 2 over, enough to hold off Calcavecchia by 74 points. Calcavecchia needed to finish no worse than a tie for second with one other player to have a chance to overtake Lehman.
Almost two months after surviving a five-hole playoff to win the Songdo Championship in South Korea for his first win since 1991, Blake calmly worked his way through the final round while a crowd of contenders took turns making brief runs at the lead.
Blake hit 12 of 14 fairways, made a pair of nice par saves out of the sand on the back nine then made the tournament-winning par on 18 after taking a bogey on the par-3 17th.
Nearly two dozen friends and family members rushed the green after Blake sank a short putt for par on the final hole. He earned $440,000 and finished fourth in the overall standings.
Blake, who had a four-shot lead with five holes to go and got some help from the contenders behind him.
Allen, second at this tournament in 2010, got to 7 under twice but couldn’t capitalize. He birdied No. 16 but a bogey on 17 dropped him back.
David Frost, who shared the lead after two rounds, also got to 7 under before fading. Frost had a 72 and finished in sixth at 5 under.
With Blake cruising, the only drama surrounded the points title.
Lehman, a three-time winner this season, struggled most of the tournament and never had more than two birdies in a round. Playing several groups ahead of Calcavecchia, Lehman had to watch from near the 18th green until his title was secured.
Calcavecchia made Lehman sweat it out and hit a solid tee shot on 18 before pushing his approach far right. He two-putted for par, then watched his chances at passing Lehman end when Allen putted out for par, guaranteeing at least a three-way tie for second.
Two-time defending tournament champion John Cook tied for 20th at 3 over.
IN OTHER NEWSSteve Williams ripped into his old boss with a racial slur that caused even more commotion involving the jilted caddie and golf’s biggest name.
Williams, still angered over getting fired by Woods this summer, was working for Adam Scott when he won the Bridgestone Invitational. That tournament also was the first time Woods played since splitting with his caddie. An emotionally charged Williams gave a TV interview on the 18th green and called it “the best win of my life,” even though he had been on the bag for 13 majors with Woods.
On Friday night, at the Caddies Award roast the host called Williams to the stage to collect his award "Celebration of the Year" and asked him to explain his enthusiasm. Williams, with a smirk on his face, leaned toward the microphone and said, “It was my aim to shove it right up that black a.......
On a night filled with banter and off-color remarks, this one was a show-stopper. Heads turned, eyes widened and jaws dropped amid a mixture of shock and laughter.
Williams later issued a statement apologizing to Woods. That was good enough for Scott, who said he had no plans to fire his caddie.
Snedeker, who won The Heritage in April and nearly earned a spot on the U.S. Presidents Cup team, had surgery Tuesday to fix a degenerative issue in his right hip. He is not expected to compete again for six to eight weeks.
Rickie Fowler will take Snedeker’s spot in the Chevron World Challenge, played Dec. 1-4 at Sherwood Country Club in California. Snedeker will be replaced by Bo Van Pelt a week later at the Shark Shootout in Florida.
Frank Bensel overcame an eight-stroke deficit Sunday to win the Callaway Golf PGA Assistant Championship for the second straight year, shooting a 6-under 66 in windy conditions for an improbable one-stroke victory.
The 43-year-old Bensel, the PGA assistant professional at Century Country Club in Purchase, New York, had an eagle, five birdies and just one bogey to finish at 5-under 283 on PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker Course.
He earned a spot in the PGA Professional National Championship in June, and the top 10 finishers and ties received berths in the first stage of the 2012 PGA Tour qualifying tournament.
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