Francesco Molinari outlasted Lee Westwood in a spirited duel yesterday in the
Molinari closed with a 5-under-par 67 at Sheshan International for his first win this season, and only the second of his career. He spoiled the debut of Westwood as the world’s No. 1 player, although the Englishman put up a fight worthy of his ranking.
Two shots behind on the par-5 18th, Westwood hit a powerful drive that left him only an iron into the green. He had a 25-foot eagle putt to force a playoff, but the ball stayed left of the hole the entire way, and Westwood had to settle for a 67.
It was only his second stroke-play tournament in three months, and Westwood played the final 43 holes without a bogey. Molinari finished at 19-under 269.
“It wasn’t easy,’’ the Italian said. “I’m just really proud of the way I played and the way I handled myself. Lee is No. 1 in the world, and he was playing some fantastic golf. It was a great finish at the end.’’
Tiger Woods closed with a 68 and tied for sixth, 13 shots back. It was only his third top-10 finish of the year, and his best finish since a tie for fourth at the US Open. For the first time in his career, Woods failed to win on the PGA Tour, ending a streak of 14 years.
“That’s just the way it goes,’’ Woods said. “It’s not like I didn’t try. It just didn’t happen this year. But I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made of late. Things are building and heading in the right direction, which is good.’’
Molinari, who earned $1.2 million, moved to No. 14 in the world ranking, three spots ahead of his brother Edoardo.
Richie Ramsay of Scotland closed with a 71 and tied for third with Luke Donald (73).
LPGA —Top-ranked Jiyai Shin won the Mizuno Classic in Shima, Japan, for her second victory of the season, closing with a 5-under 67 for a two-stroke win over Yani Tseng (66).
Stacy Lewis (68) was third at 15 under, Miki Saiki (70) was 12 under, and Na Yeon Choi (68), Brittany Lincicome (65), and Mika Miyazato (68) followed at 11 under.
Champions — John Cook successfully defended his title in the tour’s season-ending Schwab Cup Championship in San Francisco, while Bernhard Langer took his first season points title.
Cook shot 4-under 67, holing a 15-foot par putt on the 18th hole to beat Michael Allen by two strokes.