Xander Schauffele claimed his third PGA Tour victory at the WGC HSBC Champions after defeating Tony Finau on the first play-off hole.
Schauffele made back-to-back birdies on his final two holes of the tournament to get it in to a playoff with overnight leader Tony Finau, and went on to claim his first WGC title with a further birdie on the first hole of sudden death at Sheshan International.
While Finau found the bunker with his tee shot on the return to the 18th hole and was forced to lay up, Schauffele made the par-five green in two – giving himself two putts for the winning birdie.
“It means a lot,” Schauffele said of his victory. “Last season, I really wanted to win in my rookie year and wasn’t able to do that. I guess it wasn’t the same season.
“I felt like I was playing great all day. Besides that first tee shot on 1, where I pulled it right of the tree, I felt like I was in control of my ball. We kept our heads down. I didn’t even — when I was signing my card, I was like, Oh, wow, I actually went birdie, birdie to get in the playoff. I was just in my own world out there.
“You know, it was my birthday this week. A lot of guys talk about the Asian stretch, and to have my family out here, especially with the win, it’s really special.”
Having started the day three shots behind overnight leader Finau, 2017 PGA Tour rookie of the year Schauffele opened with three birdies and a bogey on his opening nine to get to within one shot by the turn.
By the 14th hole the 25-year-old found himself out in front, but a three-putt bogey on the next left him in need of a strong finish. Back-to-back birdies gave him a total of 14-under, and he was soon matched by Finau, who also birdied his 72nd hole.
Justin Rose finished four shots behind the leaders to claim 3rd spot, while World No 1 Brooks Koepka carded a three-under 69 to end the week on two under and tied 16th with Paul Casey.
WITB: Xander Schauffele
Driver: TaylorMade M3 (10.5), Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-BB 7X
Fairway Wood: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (15, 18 degrees), Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 8X
Irons: Forged prototype (4-PW), Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts
Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (52 degrees), Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (56 degrees bent to 57, 60 degrees bent to 61), Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
Putter: Odyssey O-Works Red #7 CH
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X