SHANGHAI – Xander Schauffele gave the Americans a round of the World Golf Championships and quickly brought a second straight winless season.
Schauffele made birdie on his last three holes on Sunday, the last a two-putt birdie about 30 feet on the 18th hole of par-5 to defeat Tony Finau in a sudden-death playoff and the HSBC To win champions.
"When I signed my card, I thought: Oh, wow, I actually went birdie – birdie to get into the playoff," said Schauffele. "I was out in my own world."
He started the tournament by celebrating his 25th birthday. He finished with one clutch after the other in the final at Sheshan International for a 4 under 68, the lowest score of the last lap and his first win in 1
Schauffele won the PGA Tour twice in his first year to win Rookie of the Year. There were high rankings last season, but only a good chance of winning when he finished second in the Open Championship in Carnoustie.
Now he has three wins, the last two at the Tour Championship to finish the 2017 season World Championship
Finau, who had started the finals with a three-shot lead to a second PGA tour It was a breeze to take victory, until Schauffele made an 18-foot birdie putt to the Par 3. 17, only the fourth player to make birdie on Sunday.
Defending champion Justin Rose missed a 10-foot birdie opportunity on the 17th and went two laps behind him into the final hole. As he tried to make Eagle, he went from the bunker to the rough across the green and into the water and made a bogey for a 72 to get four shots behind him.
That meant Brooks Koepka, who closed with a 69 and tied
Then it was a battle between the two Americans.
Finau faced the green with a risky shot. He barely cleared the water and left him with an eagle putty of about 35 feet, which he had just removed a few feet from the cup. Schauffele's second shot into the par-5 18th landed on the putting surface and rolled just above the back as the American said, "Sit down!" six times before settling right next to the green.
He had his eagle putt three feet long and did that for birdie. He and Finau finished at 14 – under 274.
In the playoff game, Schauffele hit the fairway again and hit a 5-iron on the middle of the green. Finau headed left onto the bunker's face, had no choice but to sit up, and his third shot was 20 feet wide. He missed his birdie putt to extend the playoff.
"Definitely the feeling that I let you escape," said Finau, whose only PGA Tour victory was at the Puerto Rico Open two years ago. "Xander played incredible golf today, it was tough out there, he posted a number and made birdie in a playoff hole when it mattered – hats off to him, he played well today and deserves to win."
The United States becomes the first country in which four players win the four World Golf Championships. Phil Mickelson won the Mexico Championship, Bubba Watson won the Dell Match Play and Justin Thomas won the Bridgestone Invitational.
The Americans won all four WGCs in 2013, when Tiger Woods won two of them, Matt Kuchar won the match play, and Dustin Johnson won in Shanghai. The Americans have now won 41 of the 69 events since the start of the World Golf Championships in 1999. Woods has won 18 of them.
Rose tried to defend Woods as the only player to successfully defend a WGC title – Woods has done it eight times – and Birdieed the 13th and 14th holes to pull within a shot of the lead. But he failed from the fairway on the 15th in a bunker, made a bogey and could not catch up.
He had to win the second place alone to replace Koepka at # 1 in the world.
"A tough day for all, Rose said, alluding to only three players shooting in the '60s in the last round, it looks like they all fell apart, it was a three-day race all day long It was hard to fend off the errors completely from the map today. "
He gets another chance to return to No
Roses third shot at the 18th shot hit Schauffeles ball and sent both balls down the slope and into the water. Schauffele was able to replace his ball without penalty, although it was an indication of how close his shot was from the descent down the slope into the water, which would have cost him the tournament.
Schauffele, under heavy consideration, dropped but on the Ryder Cup team as a pick of the captain, moved to No. 12 in the world.