Xander Schauffele defeats Tony Finau in WGC-HSBC Champions playoff
Xander Schauffele defeats Tony Finau in WGC-HSBC Champions playoff
Rose is chasing back-to-back WGC-HSBC titles
31 October, 2018, 07:48
At the top of the leaderboard, Justin Rose faltered over the closing stages at the WGC-HSBC Champions for Tony Finau to take a three-shot lead into the final day.
Rose, the 2018 Fedex Cup champion, overhauled an eight-shot deficit to win the tournament previous year and so will still have hope of retaining the title and dethroning Brooks Koepka as world number one.
They finished four strokes ahead of Justin Rose (72) with Schauffele going on to win with a birdie at the first extra hole, the par-five 18th, where Finau had to lay up after his tee shot finished in its pitch mark in a bunker.
But Rose, who could move back to the top of the world rankings with a win, dropped three shots on the final two holes to sit three off the lead alongside American duo Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele.
Shubhankar started with a bogey on 19th and then had a double on 17th and a birdie on 18th to turn in 2-over. "Just keep plugging along and try to get that back and I was able to do that". He and Finau finished at 14-under 274. I actually went birdie-birdie to get in the playoff, ' " said Schauffele.
Finau had led by two when he birdied the 10th following a magnificent approach shot, but bogeyed the next two holes to put Schauffele in a share of the lead and there was no separating the two after 72 holes.
The Northern Irishman turned the club face to connect a left-handed clearance on his way to dropping two shots but recovered well with four birdies on the front nine to finish eight strokes off the pace.
"I was definitely in sort of an attack mode, and I was hitting good shots all day, making good putts".
He made his first bogey of the tournament on the fifth hole of the second round by missing a 4-foot putt after a smart chip shot from deep rough. Then, his 4-iron to the par-5 18th was too far right and tumbled down the hill and into the water.
The HSBC Champions was the fourth and final WGC event of the calendar year, but it's part of the PGA Tour's 2018-19 schedule. "I was happy just to make a few birdies coming down the stretch".
"There's 18 more holes to play and it's a world class field".
It was a harsh disappointment for the long-hitting, 29-year-old Finau, who was impressive all week and lead after the second and third rounds. He shared second at the Open Championship in July and claimed top-10 finishes at the final two play-off events in the usa before helping Europe regain the Ryder Cup in France.
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