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Johnson defeats Woods in playoff

Zach Johnson, left, and Tiger Woods shake hands before going to playoff. (Associated Press)
Zach Johnson, left, and Tiger Woods shake hands before going to playoff. (Associated Press)

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 in Thousand Oaks, Calif., 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 7-iron that he lost enough to the right that it found the bunker. He hit a great 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

Miguel Angel Jimenez successfully defended his Hong Kong Open title 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 GC, holing an 18-foot birdie on the first playoff hole with Thailand’s Prom Meesawat and Wales’ Stuart Manley.

Nedbank Challenge

Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn had two back-nine eagles in a comeback victory in the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City, South Africa. 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. He earned $1.25 million for his 15th European Tour title.