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Johnson Retains Lead in WGC-HSBC Champions
Dustin Johnson continues to shine in the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China. After carding a course-record-tying 63 Friday to take a five-shot lead, the 29-year-old South Carolinian carded a 6-under 66 to maintain a three-stroke edge heading into Sunday's final round of the $8.5 million event being held at Sheshan International Golf Club.
Johnson looked like he was going to run away from the field on the front nine after carding six birdies, making the turn in 6-under 30. But he came back to the field on the home half, with two double-bogeys - interspersed with four straight birdies on Nos. 13-16 - for his 66.
His second double was especially disappointing because it happened on the par-5 18th. After hitting his tee shot wide right into a lake, he was unsure where to drop so returned to the tee and drove again. After finding the fairway the second try, his approach stopped in a bunker lip. He splashed out to 15 feet, then two-putted for the double.
He stands at 18-under 198, three ahead of defending champion Ian Poulter, who shot a 63.
"I'm still a little mad from my double-bogey on 18," Johnson told reporters later. "Obviously, to have a three-shot lead going into the last day is good and I'm looking forward to the challenge. I still have to play really well. The guys that are right behind me, they're playing very well, too. So it's still going to be a tough day tomorrow. Got to come out and make a lot of birdies."
But Johnson conceded his 66 was pretty decent. "It's a good score," Johnson said. "I'm definitely happy with what I shot. I'm just not happy with the way I finished. Making two doubles, there's no excuse for that, especially the way I'm playing right now."
Poulter's 63 also included six birdies on the front nine, followed by two birdies, an eagle on the par-5 14th, and a bogey on the par-3 17th. The Englishman managed to stay within shouting distance of Johnson.
"This golf course gives up a lot of birdies, and he's a good player," Poulter said of Johnson. "And in this form, he's going to make a lot of birdies. I just need to do my thing tomorrow and make a lot more than what he does. I'm going to have to see what happens coming down the stretch."
Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell carded a 64 and is six strokes behind Johnson at 202, while Canada's Graham DeLaet (65), England's Justin Rose (65) and first-round leader Rory McIlroy (67) share fourth at 204.
The round of the day was fired by Germany's Martin Kaymer, who set a new course record of 10-under 62. The 2011 winner of the tournament had a flawless card of 10 birdies - four on the front nine at Sheshan International and six on the back. He rose into a tie for seventh at 206 with Americans Boo Weekley and Bubba Watson, who each shot 69.
"I've shot 59 before and I thought, 'There's a chance,' especially after my birdies on 4, 5, 6," said Kaymer, who began his round on the 10th tee and carded six birdies on holes 10-18. "But you can't make them all."
Tied for 10th at 207 are Welshman Jamie Donaldson (66), Keegan Bradley (68), Spain's Sergio Garcia (69) and England's Tommy Fleetwood (69).
American Phil Mickelson shot even-par 72 to drop into T-22 at 211.
For all the scores, visit http://www.worldgolfchampionships.com/hsbc-champions/leaderboard.html.