Golf Comment: Fine week for Europeans as season finale nears

Sam Torrance
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ENGLAND’S Ian Poulter threw the kitchen sink at him but in the end Dustin Johnson held firm to win the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai on Sunday.

The American, who finished on 24 under par, beat Poulter by three shots but only after the lead changed hands several times on the final day.

Johnson played fantastically over the four days, none more so than when his iron landed 10 feet short of the 16th green and he chipped in for an eagle two. It moved him two clear and he never let go of that lead.

Poulter’s excellent display was one of a host of good performances from European players at Sheshan International. Graeme McDowell was just one shot behind his Ryder Cup team-mate, while Sergio Garcia was outstanding in fourth and Justin Rose, who was fifth, also showed his class once again. It all helps these guys to qualify for the team to face the United States next year.

It also makes for a dramatic last two weeks of the Race To Dubai as McDowell, Rose and Poulter all edged closer to money list leader Henrik Stenson. Former world No1 Rory McIlroy also put in a great performance and did enough to ensure his place at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship. He started so well but fell away a little on the back nine of his second round.

He won’t be in Turkey this week for the penultimate event but a high-class field, including world No1 Tiger Woods, will as the finale approaches.

On that note, congratulations to Kenny Perry, who clinched the PGA Champions Tour’s Charles Schwab Cup, thanks in no small part to Fred Couples beating Perry’s rival Bernhard Langer at Sunday’s final event.

Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam

1) Henrik Stenson
2) Graeme McDowell
3) Justin Rose
4) Ian Poulter
5) Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
6) Richard Sterne
7) Matteo Manassero
8) Thongchai Jaidee
9) Thomas Bjorn
10) Sergio Garcia