Johnson leads Poulter in China despite double bogeys

Sat Nov 2, 2013 6:38am EDT
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By Andrew Both

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - American Dustin Johnson threatened to run away with the $8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions tournament on Saturday, before a double-bogey at the final hole of his third round gave a glimmer of hope to the field.

Johnson pushed his tee shot into the water at the par-five 18th - which followed an earlier double-bogey - yet he still managed a six-under-par 66 in perfect scoring conditions to lead England's Ian Poulter (63), the defending champion, by three.

Soft greens and the absence of a breeze led to a birdie blitz and also a deteriorating air quality as a moderate smog hung unrelentingly over Sheshan International.

But Johnson was more bothered by his tardy finish than the smoky air, despite posting an impressive 18-under 198 total with one round left.

"I'm still a little mad from my double bogey at 18 but obviously a three-shot lead going into Sunday is good," the long-hitting Johnson, a seven-time PGA Tour winner, told reporters.

"It's a good score. I made 10 birdies, hit a lot of good shots. I'm definitely happy with what I shot, just not happy with the way I finished.

"Making two doubles, there's no excuse for that, especially the way I'm playing."

Englishman Poulter vaulted into second place on 15-under, with Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell (64) another shot behind.   Continued...

Ian Poulter of England looks over his putt on the 18th green during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai November 2, 2013. REUTERS/Aly Song