Created: 12/09/2013 3:35 PM WNYT.com
(AP) THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Zach Johnson put together the storybook finish at Sherwood on Sunday that for the longest time belonged to Tiger Woods.
Johnson rallied from four shots behind with eight holes to play, holed out from a drop area for par on the last hole to force a playoff, and beat the No. 1 player in golf at the World Challenge when Woods missed a 5-foot par putt on the first extra hole.
It was an extraordinary sendoff at Sherwood, which hosted the World Challenge for the 14th and final time before it moves to Florida next year.
For Woods, it was only the fourth time in his career that he lost a lead of at least two shots going into the final round, the second time at Sherwood. Graeme McDowell overcame a four-shot deficit in 2010 and beat Woods in a playoff.
This was far more dramatic.
They were tied after Johnson hit his tee shot to 4 feet for birdie on the 17th hole. Playing from the left rough, Woods came up just short and watched his approach tumble down the elevated green and into the bunker. Johnson followed with an 8-iron so weak that it came up well short and into the hazard.
Johnson knew Woods had a difficult bunker shot, and if he figured if he could stick his wedge close from 58 yards away in the drop zone, a bogey might be enough to get into a playoff. The ball bounced three times and then spun back a few inches into the cup for an unlikely par and a 4-under 68.
Woods’ hit a superb bunker shot to 2 feet and matched his par for a 70. They finished at 13-under 275.
Woods was between clubs from the 18th fairway in the playoff and tried a smooth 7-iron that he lost enough to the right that it again found the bunker. He hit an exquisite sand shot, this one sliding 5 feet by the hole, and the par putt spun out of the left side.
Johnson won $1 million and should go to No. 9 in the world.
HONG KONG OPEN
HONG KONG (AP) _ Miguel Angel Jimenez successfully defended his Hong Kong Open title Sunday to extend his record as the oldest winner in European Tour history.
The Spaniard won at 49 years, 337 days to break the record he set last year at Hong Kong Golf Club, holing an 18-foot birdie on the first hole of a playoff with Thailand’s Prom Meesawat and Wales’ Stuart Manley.
Jimenez won the event for the fourth time to match the tournament victory record set by Taiwan’s Hsieh Yong Yo, the winner in 1963, `64, `75 and `78. Jimenez also won in 2004 and 2007. He has 20 European Tour victories, a tour-record 13 since turning 40.
Jimenez closed with a 4-under 66 to match Meesawat at 12-under 268. Manley holed a birdie chip on the final hole of regulation for a 68, and Meesawat had two eagles in a 65.
NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE
SUN CITY, South Africa (AP) _ Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn had two back-nine eagles in a comeback victory in the Nedbank Golf Challenge
The 42-year-old Bjorn closed with a 7-under 65 for a two-stroke victory over Wales’ Jamie Donaldson amd Spain’s Sergio Garcia.
Bjorn finished at 20-under 268 at Gary Player Country Club. He earned $1.25 million for his 15th European Tour title.
Donaldson, three strokes ahead entering the round, closed with a 70. Garcia had a 65.
Bjorn’s 5-iron into No. 10 set up the first eagle to move past Donaldson. The Dane had his second on No. 14 after his approach hit a bunker and rolled up onto the green.
The victory was hailed by fans waving streams of South African flags in late afternoon sunshine on a day dedicated in the country to prayer and reflection following the death of former President Nelson Mandela.
SWINGING SKIRTS WORLD LADIES MASTERS
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) _ Lydia Ko rallied to win her first title as a professional.
The 16-year-old from New Zealand won the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters, closing with a 4-under 68 for a three-stroke victory over South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu.
Ko had an 11-under 205 total at Linkou Miramar and earned $150,000 in the event sanctioned by the Taiwan and Korean tours. Ryu finished with a 73. Top-ranked Inbee Park was third at 7 under after a 70.
Ko tied for 21st last month in the LPGA Titleholders in her only other start as a professional. She won four pro events as an amateur, taking the Canadian Women’s Open the last two years.
LPGA TOUR QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Jaye Marie Green completed a runaway victory in the LPGA Tour qualifying tournament, finishing with a record 29-under 331 total for a 10-stroke margin.
The 19-year-old Green, from Boca Raton, closed with a 4-under 68 on LPGA International’s Jones Course. She broke the event 90-hole mark of 18-under 342 set by Stacy Lewis in 2008.
The top 20 earned Category 12 status, the next 26 players received membership in Category 17, and the other 22 players who made the 72-hole cut got Symetra Tour status.
South Korea’s Mi Rim Lee was second after a 69. Tiffany Joh finished third at 15 under after a 71.
Amy Anderson, the 21-year-old former North Dakota State star who won a record 20 college titles, was fourth at 14 under after a 69.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)