Russell Knox became the first Scottish winner of a WGC event as he finished two strokes ahead of American Kevin Kisner in the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
Russell Knox from Inverness shared the lead with Kevin Kisner through 54-holes of the WGC-HSBC Champions, but the Scot moved ahead in the final round with birdies on the 10th and 11th holes at Sheshan International. Another birdie at the 16th gave him a cushion and he was able to close out the victory and secure his first European Tour title.
“It’s incredible. I always hoped it was going to happen but you’re just never sure,” said the 30-year-old. “There’s just so many unbelievable players on tours all around the world and to win at this stage is a dream come true. I still can’t quite believe it.”
Kisner had to make do with second place on his own. It was a tough blow for the American who has been beaten in three playoffs on the PGA Tour in 2015.
5 Talking points from the WGC-HSBC Champions
1 – Victory in this event for Russell Knox is career-changing. He could move into the top-30 on the Official World Golf Ranking and will be exempt for both the PGA and European Tours and will play in The Masters. He is the first man to win a WGC event on his debut appearance since Jeff Maggert won the very first of them – the WGC Match Play of 1999. Just a few years ago, Knox was trying to make his way on the mini tours in the US and now he’s a World Golf Championship winner.
2 – Danny Willett produced a superb final round of 62 to climb into a tie for third place with Ross Fisher. The finish will greatly boost the Willett’s chances in the 2015 Race to Dubai as he continues his battle with Rory McIlroy at the top of the standings. It was a great week for Ross Fisher. After struggling for a spell towards the end of this season, he’s now up to 15th on the Race to Dubai.
3 – Dustin Johnson had another disappointing final round. The big-hitting American put himself right in the mix with two birdies in his first three holes, but a double bogey 7 at the par-5 8th put paid to his chances. Although he bounced back with a couple of birdies on the run for home, he had to make do with a tie for fifth place with Branden Grace.
4 – Young Matthew Fitzpatrick continued his fine run of form. The 21-year-old won the British Masters last month and was tied third in Hong Kong. Finishing in a tie for 7th place in this event, he has moved up to 12th place on the Race to Dubai rankings. It’s been quite a debut season on the European Tour.
5 – Jordan Spieth held on to win the battle of the big guns against Rory McIlroy. The Northern Irishman suffered food poisoning early in the week but fought back well and closed with a 66 to reach 14-under-par. Spieth ended the week one better than that after a closing round of 70.
Sheshan International GC, Shanghai, China
Purse: €8,000,000, par 72
1 Russell Knox (Sco) 67 65 68 68 268
2 Kevin Kisner (USA) 64 66 70 70 270
T3 Danny Willett (Eng) 65 74 70 62 271
T3 Ross Fisher (Eng) 69 69 65 68 271
T5 Branden Grace (RSA) 63 71 70 68 272
T5 Dustin Johnson (USA) 65 71 65 71 272
T7 Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 68 69 69 67 273
T7 Patrick Reed (USA) 65 70 68 70 273
T7 Haotong Li (Chn) 66 69 66 72 273
T7 Jordan Spieth (USA) 68 72 63 70 273
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage