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Posted November 04, 2019 01:11 pm |

Rory McIroy wins HSBC Champions in playoff

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    Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland raises the trophy after winning the HSBC Champions golf tournament at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

SHANGHAI — Rory McIlroy thought he did everything he needed to win the HSBC Champions on Sunday, and then Xander Schauffele made him do a little more.

McIlroy delivered all the right shots in the playoff, smashing driver down the fairway and hitting 4-iron into 25 feet on the par-5 closing hole at Sheshan International to set up a two-putt birdie. Schauffele, who birdied the 18th in regulation to force a playoff, had to lay up from the rough near a bunker, and his 12-foot birdie putt stayed just right of the hole.

McIlroy won for the fourth time this year. It was his third World Golf Championships title, and his first since the Match Play at Harding Park in 2015. McIlroy played bogey-free over the last 39 holes and closed with a 4-under 68, taking trouble out of play down the stretch because he had the lead.

"Bogey-free on the weekend. I thought it would be enough to get the job done," McIlroy said.

Schauffele turned in a bold performance in his bid to become the first back-to-back winner of the HSBC Champions. He spent all week battling remnants of the flu, started the final round two shots behind and never let McIlroy feel in control.

Two shots behind with four to play, Schauffele birdied two of the last four holes for a 66, two-putting from the front of the green to a pin toward the back on the 18th in regulation, calmly making the 5-footer to force overtime at Sheshan for the second straight year.

They finished at 19-under 269.

Phil Mickelson closed with a 68 and tied for 28th. With Shugo Imahira finishing second on the Japan Golf Tour, Mickelson will drop out of the top 50 in the world for the first time since Nov. 28, 1993, the longest consecutive streak in the top 50 since the Official World Golf Ranking began in 1986. "It was a good run," Mickelson said. "But I'll be back."

PGA TOUR

SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda — Brendon Todd ran away with the Bermuda Championship for his second PGA Tour title, shooting a 9-under 62 after flirting with a sub-60 round at mostly calm Port Royal Golf Club.

"I'm thrilled, over the moon," said Todd, his career once nearly ended by full-swing yips. "A year ago, I was talking to my manager about potentially opening up another business and not sure if I was going to keep playing. So, to turn it around in one year and regain status and then have a big win this like this is just a dream come true and hopefully a springboard to a really long, successful career out here."

Two months after regaining his tour card in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, Todd earned a two-year exemption, $540,000 and spots at Kapalua, The Players Championship and the PGA Championship. He won the 2014 Byron Nelson for first PGA Tour title, then went 100 starts before breaking through again.

Needing to birdie the final two holes to shoot 59, Todd missed a 20-foot birdie try on the par-5 17th and closed with a bogey after taking three shots to reach the green on the par-4 18th. He finished at 24-under 260 for a four-stroke victory over Harry Higgs in the first-year event.

Two strokes behind Higgs entering the round, Todd opened with a par, then birdied the next seven. The 34-year-old former University of Georgia player also birdied Nos. 10, 11 and 15. Higgs closed with a 68.