Rory McIlroy wins in Shanghai after beating Schauffele in play-off

World number two needs one extra hole to see off American in WGC-HSBC Champions

Rory McIlroy was victorious in Shanghai after a play-off. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty

Rory McIlroy was victorious in Shanghai after a play-off. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty

 

Rory McIlroy hit a towering approach shot to set up a birdie at the first extra hole and win the WGC-HSBC Champions in a play-off with American Xander Schauffele in Shanghai on Sunday.

After defending champion Schauffele had birdied the par-five 18th in the final round to tie in regulation, McIlroy prevailed in sudden death, relieved to escape with his fourth victory of the year, and the 26th of his decade-long professional career.

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

McIlroy carded a four-under-par 68 in an exciting final round at Sheshan International, while Schauffele had a 66 in what turned into a battle royale in front of a massive pro-McIlroy gallery at Sheshan International.

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

McIlroy was perhaps fortunate to be in a play-off after a poor drive at the final hole of regulation drifted perilously close to the water hazard lining the right side 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,” said the four-times major champion.

Following that reprieve, he made amends in the play-off, saying he focused on a target for his approach shot and blocked the significance of the occasion from his mind.

“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.”

Schauffele won last year on the same hole in a playoff with Tony Finau, and almost repeated the feat despite suffering ‘flu-like symptoms for much of the week.

“He played unbelieveably considering how he’s been feeling,” said McIlroy of the American.

McIlroy has now also won three of the four events that comprise the World Golf Championships series, only the Mexico Championship, where he came second this year, missing from his resume.

Rory McIlroy walks up the 18th in Shanghai. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty
Rory McIlroy walks up the 18th in Shanghai. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty

He will remain ranked second in the world behind Brooks Koepka, who missed the event due to a knee injury. The European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, from November 21st-24th, is McIlroy’s last remaining event this year.

Sunday’s win comes two weeks after Koepka, who has won four majors in the past three years, said he did not consider McIlroy a rival.

McIlroy, whose four majors came between 2011 and 2014, before Koepka even made it out onto the PGA Tour, accepted the American’s comment with grace, but you can be sure it fired him up inside.

“I am mindful of it,” he said on Sunday,“I’m still a little behind (Koepka) I think but I’m getting there.”

“I’m going to take two months off after I play in Dubai.

“I really wanted to get another win before the end of the year and now that I’ve done that, it would be nice to get two wins.”

Collated final round scores & totals in the WGC — HSBC Champions, Sheshan International GC, China (Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 72):

269 Rory McIlroy 67 67 67 68 (McIlroy won play-off at the 1st hole), Xander Schauffele (USA) 66 69 68 66

271 Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 68 69 65 69

273 Abraham Ancer (Mex) 68 71 67 67, Victor Perez (Fra) 65 71 71 66, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 67 71 69 66

274 Matthew Fitzpatrick 66 67 70 71

276 Jason Kokrak (USA) 69 70 66 71, Paul Waring 73 65 66 72, Patrick Reed (USA) 72 69 69 66

277 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 75 67 68 67, Adam Scott (Aus) 66 69 75 67, Sungjae Im (Kor) 66 69 70 72

278 Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) 70 69 69 70, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 69 71 69 69, Tyrrell Hatton 72 73 68 65

279 Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 69 72 66 72, Robert Macintyre 70 69 73 67, Yechun Yuan (Chn) 69 70 74 66

280 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 70 70 70 70, Corey Conners (Can) 67 73 74 66

281 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 74 67 71 69, Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn) 72 74 66 69

282 Keegan Bradley (USA) 73 72 71 66, Haotong Li (Chn) 64 72 74 72, JT Poston (USA) 69 73 72 68, Billy Horschel (USA) 69 71 73 69

283 Phil Mickelson (USA) 71 69 75 68, Kurt Kitayama (USA) 70 72 73 68, Scott Hend (Aus) 75 69 70 69, Justin Rose 69 70 71 73, Bubba Watson (USA) 70 69 72 72, Kevin Kisner (USA) 72 67 67 77

284 Joost Luiten (Ned) 70 74 72 68, Jorge Campillo (Spa) 73 69 70 72

285 Andrew Putnam (USA) 71 71 73 70, Charles Howell III (USA) 74 73 67 71

286 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 70 74 72 70, Xinjun Zhang (Chn) 68 73 73 72, Yosuke Asaji (Jpn) 70 75 76 65, Paul Casey 75 71 71 69, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 73 71 71 71

287 Shane Lowry 72 72 72 71, Bryce Easton (Rsa) 70 73 74 70, Jordan Spieth (USA) 70 73 74 70

288 Chan Kim (USA) 71 70 75 72, Adam Hadwin (Can) 74 77 69 68, Romain Langasque (Fra) 75 68 69 76

289 Mikumu Horikawa (Jpn) 74 68 77 70, Lucas Glover (USA) 73 70 74 72, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 71 70 75 73, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 70 73 71 75

290 Tony Finau (USA) 69 70 75 76, Justin Harding (Rsa) 75 74 71 70, Tommy Fleetwood 74 76 73 67, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 72 68 75 75

291 Neil Schietekat (Rsa) 70 72 74 75, Jake McLeod (Aus) 70 73 79 69, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 73 72 69 77

292 Matt Wallace 69 84 70 69, Cameron Smith (Aus) 70 72 74 76, Jbe Kruger (Rsa) 71 71 75 75, Kevin Tway (USA) 71 72 72 77, Chez Reavie (USA) 69 74 75 74

294 Tae Hee Lee (Kor) 75 73 73 73, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 70 74 77 73

295 Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn) 69 79 74 73, Matthew Millar (Aus) 69 73 74 79, Zecheng Dou (Chn) 71 80 72 72

296 Zheng kai Bai (Chn) 73 76 74 73, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 72 75 74 75

298 Zander Lombard (Rsa) 73 73 74 78

299 Ashun Wu (Chn) 80 71 72 76, Danny Willett 68 77 78 76, Wen-chong Liang (Chn) 74 74 75 76

304 Yi-Keun Chang (Kor) 76 75 75 78

309 Daniel Nisbet (Aus) 77 80 79 73

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