Rory Beats Schauffele in WGC-HSBC Playoff

Rory McIlroy simply had a little more left in the tank.

The second-ranked McIlroy, from Northern Ireland, birdied the first playoff hole to turn back defending champion Xander Schauffele in the WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai.

“I think maybe more so than when I first came out on Tour, I try 100 percent over every shot, because I realize I don’t have as much time left as I used to when I was 20,” said the 30-year-old McIlroy, who claimed his third WGC victory among 27 titles as a pro.

“Even if I’m having a bad day, I’m trying over every single shot. My concentration is better and my mental capacity on the golf course is much better than it ever has been, and I think that’s a big key to why I’m able to play consistently week-in, week-out.

“The four wins this year have been wonderful. The Players Championship, RBC Canadian Open, the Tour Championship, to win the FedEx Cup, big events.

“Xander pushed me the whole way, or all 73 holes we played together this week. … I knew that was the big moment (on the playoff hole) because I could hit a drive down the fairway and put the pressure on him.”

McIlroy, one of the longer hitters in the game, hit two big shots on the playoff hole—the par-5, 538-yard 18th—and two-putted for his winning birdie from three feet, while Schauffele drove into a fairway bunker and needed three shots to reach the green before barely missing his 12-footer for birdie.

After taking a one-stroke lead into the final round, McIlroy closed with a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 to record a score of 21-under 269, while Schauffele caught him with birdies on the 16th and 18th holes to cap a 66.

“I tried my best, played great,” said the ninth-ranked Schauffele, who is from La Jolla and San Diego State. “I beat him on the day, just to get in a playoff, and unfortunately I couldn’t pull it off. I would have much rather played a par-3 for a playoff. He’s the best driver in our game. Couldn’t be happier for him. Like I said, I played great all week, fought. It was nice to have a chance.”

Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa totaled 69 to finished two shots back in solo third, while Victor Perez of France and Matthias Schwab of Austria both shot 66 to wind up four behind shot back in a tie for fourth with Abraham Ancer of Mexico, who wound up at 67.

Second-round leader Matthew Fitzpatrick of England finished five down in solo seventh after a 71, while Patrick Reed closed with a 68 and was two more back in a tie for eighth with Jason Kokrak, who had a 71, and Paul Waring, who came in at 72.

Eighth-ranked Justin Rose of England totaled 73 to finish in a tie for 28th that included two-time WGC-HSBC champion Phil Mickelson, who shot 68, and reigning Open champion Shane Lowry of Ireland tied for 43rd after a 71.

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