Xander Schauffele beat Tony Finau in a sudden-death playoff to win the WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International GC in Shanghai.
Xander Schauffele wins WGC-HSBC Champions
After Schauffele and Finau tied on 13-under-par after 72 holes, extra holes were needed to decide the tournament. The two Americans headed back to the par-5 18th to settle the event via a sudden-death playoff.
On the first extra hole, Finau’s drive found sand and he was forced to lay up. Schauffele hit the fairway and followed with a superb 5-iron to within 30 feet of the cup.
Finau knew at that stage he needed at least a birdie to stay in the hunt and he attacked the flag, playing a good shot to the right of the pin.
Schauffele rolled his eagle putt to the hole-side and tapped in for birdie. That meant Finau had to hole out to keep the playoff going. He left his putt just short and the title went to Schauffele.
“It means a lot to take this win,” he said. “I felt like I was playing great all day, I was under control and in my own world. It means a lot to have my family here this week, I can’t wait to celebrate with them.”
Finau began the final round at Sheshan International three shots ahead but his advantage was cut as both Schauffele and defending champ Justin Rose closed the gap.
Schauffele made a two at the 17th to draw level with Finau at 13-under. When Rose missed his birdie effort and remained at 11-under it was between the two Americans.
It was Schauffele to drive first on the home hole and he played a perfect tee shot on the reachable par-5. Finau drove next and left his drive slightly out to the left, finding the rough. Needing an eagle to have any chance, Rose found sand and his race was run.
Finau played a brilliant second shot from the rough onto the putting surface and then Schauffele followed with a great blow from the fairway that ran narrowly through the putting surface.
Finau putted first for eagle and left his effort slightly short, Schauffele had a run at his effort for three but it narrowly missed and went four feet past the cup. Both holed out for birdie meaning extra holes were needed to decide the tournament.
Rose, going for broke with his third shot was too aggressive and his ball ran through the putting surface, striking Schauffele’s, sending both into the water. Schauffele was able to replace his but Rose had to drop. He ended up making a six and finishing alone in third.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand and Andrew Putnam of the USA tied for fourth on eight-under with Keegan Bradley alone in sixth.
Patrick Reed, who had led after a first round of 64, started the day in a tie for second, three shots behind but he suffered a disappointing day, closing with a 77. He ended in a tie for seventh with Tommy Fleetwood who also struggled on day four, closing with 75.
Sheshan International GC, Shanghai, China
Purse: $10,000,000 Par: 72
1 Xander Schauffele (USA) 66 71 69 68 274
2 Tony Finau (USA) 66 67 70 71 274
3 Justin Rose (Eng) 69 67 70 72 278
T4 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 68 71 70 71 280
T4 Andrew Putnam (USA) 70 71 67 72 280
6 Keegan Bradley (USA) 69 70 70 72 281
T7 Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 75 69 67 72 283
T7 Patrick Cantlay (USA) 70 68 73 72 283
T7 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 68 68 72 75 283
T7 Patrick Reed (USA) 64 72 70 77 283
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage