McIlroy wins WGC Shanghai golf in playoff

World No.2 Rory McIlroy has won the WGC-HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai, beating American defending champion Xander Schauffele in a playoff.

03-Nov-2019 By Australian Associated Press
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Rory McIlroy has sunk a two-foot birdie putt at the first extra hole to win the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai after a playoff with American Xander Schauffele.

Forced into overtime on Sunday by defending champion Schauffele, who birdied the par-5 18th to draw level, McIlroy turned the tables in sudden death.

The Northern Irishman struck a towering four-iron from 225 yards to within 20 feet of the pin to set up a two-putt birdie which Schauffele, whose drive had ended in the rough, could not match with his 10-foot birdie opportunity.

McIlroy carded a four-under 68 in an exciting final round at Sheshan International, while Schauffele fired a 66 in a battle royale in front of a massive gallery.

The pair finished at 19-under-par 269, two shots ahead of South African Louis Oosthuizen.

Adam Scott was the best of the Australians, eight shots adrift, after a five-under final round of 67. Scott Hend was next best at five under overall, with Jake McLeod at three over, Cameron Smith disappointing at four over and Matthew Millar seven over.

McIlroy was somewhat fortunate to be in the playoff after a poor drive at the final regulation hole drifted perilously close to the water hazard on the right of the fairway.

"I got lucky in regulation not to go in the water and then it was a relief to hit those two shots in the playoff," he said after securing his fourth 2019 win.

After that reprieve, he made amends in the playoff, focusing on a target for his approach shot and blocked out the significance of the occasion.

"It was a perfect (yardage) for a four-iron back into the wind a little bit. You've got to take everything else out of the equation and just hit the shot."

It is McIlroy's 26th career victory, highlighted by four majors.

He has won three of the four World Golf Championships series events, with only the Mexico title missing from his resume after coming second this year.

McIlroy will remain world No.2 behind Brooks Koepka, the American missing the event with a knee injury.

Phil Mickelson closed with a 68, tied for 28th. He will drop out of the world top 50 for the first time since November, 1993 - the longest consecutive streak since the official rankings began in 1986.

"It was a good run," Mickelson said. "But I'll be back."

Patrick Reed pressed for a Presidents Cup captain's pick with a 66 to tie for eighth. He has finished top 20 in 10 of his past 13 starts, including a FedEx Cup playoff victory.

US captain Tiger Woods announces his selections on Thursday.

Sungjae Im, bidding for one of four picks for Ernie Els' International team, had a 72 and tied 11th.

AP


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