Magnificent McIlroy claims play-off win in Shanghai

Ross Houston
November 5, 2019

With his playoff win over Xander Schauffele on Sunday in Shanghai, McIlroy picked up his fourth PGA Tour win since March, adding to a list of 2019 triumphs that already includes The Players Championship, the RBC Canadian Open, the Tour Championship, the aforementioned FedExCup and the Player of the Year Award.

McIlroy, who had started the day with a one-shot lead, edged out defending champion Xander Schauffele in a play-off at Sheshan International Golf Club after the American had birdied the last for a closing 66 to finish alongside his playing partner on 19-under-par.

McIlroy was perhaps fortunate even to be in a playoff after a poor drive at the final hole of regulation drifted perilously close to the water hazard lining the right side of the fairway.

Although McIlroy remains the world No 2 golfer, Schauffele believes the Northern Irishman is now playing better than anyone on the planet and has enjoying playing alongside him for six rounds in Japan and China over the last two weeks. Taking dead aim at the flag after a flawless drive, the 23-year-old from Oban landed his approach on the edge of the water-guarded green and then rolled in a 25-footer.

Schauffele forced the playoff with a birdie on the final hole in regulation play after carding a final round of - 6-under-par but failed to oust the Co. The European Tour's season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, from November 21-24, is McIlroy's last remaining event this year.

McIlroy will remain world No.2 behind Brooks Koepka, the American missing the event with a knee injury. "I know what I need to do to become a better player".

But his tee shot went left on the 18th in the playoff, in thick rough next to a bunker. I played with him in Japan too.

"If anything over the last few years. for the most part, I've been able to get the best out of myself when I've needed it, and that's been a learning curve for me", McIlroy said. I think I played six of the eight rounds. This is the fourth time McIlroy has won at least four times in a season. "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", he said.

But with McIlroy playing the way he is, Schauffele didn't like his chances in the playoff on the long par-5.

He'd earlier birdied the second, third, seventh, where he holed an 18-foot putt, and 14th, with his only dropped shot coming at the par-4 fifth.

Toady's victory will not be enough to take the four-time major victor to the top of the World Golf Rankings. "But I'll be back". US captain Tiger Woods announces his selections on Thursday.

McIlroy now gets a two-week break before wrapping up his year in Dubai.

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