The four-time Major winner beat Xander Schauffele in a playoff to win his fourth title of the year

Rory McIlroy Wins WGC-HSBC Champions

Rory McIlroy is turning 2019 into one of his best ever seasons after winning his fourth tournament of the year.

The four-time Major winner held the 36 and 54-hole leads in China and eventually beat Xander Schauffele with a birdie at the 1st extra playoff hole to win the WGC-HSBC Champions.

With the win, he becomes the first European to win three World Golf Championship titles after wins at the 2014 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and 2015 WGC-Match Play.

The Northern Irishman began the day two ahead of Schauffele and a bogey-free four under par round of 67 got him to 19 under par.

However, the American, who played every single hole of the week with McIlroy, shot six under to tie the World No.2.

McIlroy hit what he described as two of his best shots of the day on the playoff hole, the par-5 18th, to find the green in two and two-putt for a winning birdie.

Rory is now almost within one point of Brooks Koepka in the Official World Golf Ranking with a real possibility of regaining the top spot early next year.

“It was so hard. I felt after shooting 10-under par for the first two days, thinking going bogey-free over the weekend, I thought that would probably be enough to get the job done,” he said.

Related: Rory McIlroy What’s in the bag?

“I played 73 holes this week with Xander, and I have to give credit to him. He’s battled the flu all week and he’s played unbelievably well considering how he’s been feeling.

“18 has been good to me over the week. Had an eagle Friday, a great birdie yesterday, and got lucky in regulation not to go in the water and it was a relief to hit those two shots in the playoff.”

McIlroy has won four times now in 2019 with wins at the Players Championship, Canadian Open, the Tour Championship and now the WGC-HSBC Champions.

“It’s definitely up there,” he said of his 2019.

“I’ve had some great seasons. 2012, I won five times. That’s still the most I’ve ever won in a calendar year. I won four times in 2014, four times in 2015. I won my first FedExCup in 2016.

“But this is definitely — 2017 and 2018, I had a couple injuries and went through changing equipment, as well, and there was just a couple of things. I was a little unsettled, I guess.

“But the last 18 months, I’ve been very settled. I’ve been comfortable with everything, my game, my equipment, my body’s been healthy, or healthier. It’s actually — I struggled with some back problems in my early 20s, and knock-on-wood, my body feels as good as it ever has at 30.

“I’m excited for the future. I feel like this year compares to 2014, 2015, but I don’t see any reason why I can’t go ahead and have an even better year next year.”

Watch: McIlroy’s winning round –

WGC-HSBC Champions Leaderboard 2019

1 Rory McIlroy -19

2 Xander Schauffele -19

3 Louis Oosthuizen -17

T4 Victor Perez -15

T4 Matthias Schwab -15

T4 Abraham Ancer -15

7 Matt Fitzpatrick -14

T8 Patrick Reed -12

T8 Jason Kokrak -12

T8 Paul Waring -12

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