HAR­MAN FOILS JOHN­SON’S QUEST

Brian makes stun­ning birdie to deny World No 1 fourth win in row

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LOS AN­GE­LES

DUSTIN John­son was in the club­house, tied for the lead and poised for a chance to join an elite class with a fourth straight PGA Tour vic­tory. Brian Har­man was on the last tee, know­ing a birdie on the par-five 18th would be enough to win the Wells Fargo Cham­pi­onship.

Har­man could have drawn it up dif­fer­ently, but not any bet­ter.

Switch­ing from a five-wood to a five-wood for his 271-yard shot in the 18th, he went so long that he MEX­ICO CITY: South Korea’s 12thranked Kim Sei-Young edged Thai­land’s third-ranked Ariya Ju­tanu­garn 1-up in Sun­day’s fi­nal to win the Lorena Ochoa Match Play ti­tle and cap­ture her sixth ca­reer LPGA tri­umph.

Sei-Young, the 2015 LPGA Rookie of the Year, col­lected her first vic­tory since last June’s Mei­jer LPGA Clas­sic, win­ning the first three holes and fight­ing off a late come­back to win the needed re­lief from a cor­po­rate chalet. His chip be­came harder be­cause of tree limbs that made him go low, and his chip came out soft and barely got onto the green.

And then he rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt for a four-un­der 68 and a one-shot vic­tory over World No 1 John­son and Pat Perez on Sun­day .

“I didn’t hit a great chip. It didn’t turn out very good,” Har­man said. “But I guess it went where it was sup­posed to.”

The greens at Ea­gle Point were so pure that Har­man knew it was good when the ball was five feet from the cup. He turned and pumped his arms in a wild cel­e­bra­tion that ended in a hug with his cad­die, Scott Tway, for a vic­tory that was a long time com­ing.

Har­man won for the first time in nearly three years.

For John­son, play­ing for the first time since a freak ac­ci­dent knocked him out of the Masters, it was the first time in nearly three months that he left a PGA Tour event with­out the tro­phy.

It wasn’t from a lack of try­ing. John­son made the cut on the num­ber, and then went 67-67 on the week­end, in­clud­ing a 15-foot birdie putt on the fi­nal hole, to nearly pull out an­other vic­tory.

“I didn’t have a lot of time off, so I didn’t re­ally know what to ex­pect this week be­cause I didn’t re­ally get to prac­tice lead­ing into this tour­na­ment, ei­ther,” John­son said.

“Not much has changed. The first cou­ple days I didn’t play that great, but re­ally played nicely on Satur­day and Sun­day and so I’m happy with where the game is go­ing into next week.”

John­son was try­ing to join By­ron Nel­son, Tiger Woods, Ben Ho­gan and Jack Burke Jr. as the only play­ers with at least four straight PGA Tour vic­to­ries.

He was hurt slightly by his mishap at the Masters, when he suf­fered a deep bruise on his lower back from the tum­ble down the stairs while still wear­ing only socks.

This was his first time play­ing in six weeks, and while there were signs of rust, he looked like the same old John­son over the week­end as he tried to make up ground and al­most did. AP

AFP PIC

Dustin John­son chips on the 18th hole dur­ing the fi­nal round of the Wells Fargo Cham­pi­onship on Sun­day.

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