Xander Schauffele shows cool head to win in Shanghai play-off

Xander Schauffele of the United States celebrates his victory in the WGC-HSBC Champions. Picture: Getty.
Xander Schauffele of the United States celebrates his victory in the WGC-HSBC Champions. Picture: Getty.
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America’s Xander Schauffele beat compatriot Tony Finau in a play-off to win the WGC-HSBC Champions in 
Shanghai.

Schauffele began the final round at Sheshan International three shots off the lead, but carded the lowest round of the day with a four-under-par 68 to finish alongside Finau on 14 under par.

The 25-year-old had birdied the final two holes to force extra holes and then birdied the 18th again in the play-off to secure his third PGA Tour title after Finau had been forced to lay up on the par-five after finding a bunker off the tee.

Defending champion Justin Rose, who would have gone back to the top of the world rankings with a win, had to settle for third place on ten under after a closing 72.

“It was as nice a final group as I’ve ever played in, not that I’ve played in a whole lot, but Rosey and Tony are great guys and I think we were genuinely pulling for each other, even though we were playing against each other,” said Schauffele, who celebrated his 25th birthday on the opening day.

“It’s a lot to take in honestly. It’s the first time my family have been together in a pretty long time so that was pretty special and I’m happy to share this with them.”

Rose was in contention for the first successful title defence of his career after birdies on the second and seventh, but crucially bogeyed the ninth and tenth and followed birdies on the 13th and 14th with further dropped shots on the closing stretch.

“Tough day for everybody,” said the FedEx Cup champion, who will also defend the Turkish Airlines Open title this week. “You just look at the scoreboard. Seems like everyone fell apart.”

Meanwhile, American 
Nelly Korda shot a four-under 68 to win the Taiwan Championship for her first LPGA Tour title.

Korda – the younger sister of Jessica Korda, who has won five titles on the LPGA Tour – had an eagle on the 
par-5 sixth hole and added two more birdies at the Ta Shee Golf and Country Club to finish at 13-under 275. She was two strokes ahead of Minjee Lee, who shot a bogey-free 66.

“I cannot put it into words,” Korda said. “It’s definitely one of the best days of my entire life. I can finally check that off of my list, winning an LPGA event, something I dreamed of ever since I started playing.”