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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Norman Wins, Returns to No. 1

PHUKET, Thailand -- Greg Norman has won the Johnnie Walker Classic and regained the world No. 1 spot from Nick Faldo, who had held it for 81 weeks. Norman, who was almost forced to withdraw from the tournament because of a lung infection, picked up two birdies in the final three holes to surge past Fred Couples and take the tournament.

His closing four-under-par 68 on Sunday left him one shot clear of Couples on 277, 11 under par. Couples carded a 70.

Norman said his course-record third-round 64 had set up his victory.

"Saturday was really the round which produced the goods for me. That's what won me the tournament."

After opening with three pars on Sunday, Norman picked up a birdie at the par-four fourth, pitching to three meters and sinking the putt. He dropped a stroke at the fifth where he three-putted, but that was to be the last mistake of the round.

Norman birdied the eighth and ninth and picked up another shot on the par-four 16th where he hit a sand wedge to 3.6 meters and sank the putt. He and Couples came down the 18th all square. Norman won the day when he pitched to three meters and holed his putt for a fifth birdie.

"I felt good about my chances of birdieing the last," he said.

Couples began well with birdies on the first and third. After dropping a shot at the fifth he then parred his way back to the clubhouse.

"I didn't make any putts. I just didn't get the ball close enough," he said. "I needed some birdies and I didn't get any."

Faldo, returning from a six-week winter layoff to defend his title here, failed to make the cut.