SHANGHAI – Xander Schauffele bagged the biggest victory of his young career on Sunday, chasing down Tony Finau to win the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in a playoff.
Schauffele, the 2017 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, started the day three strokes off the lead, but shot a roller-coaster 68 at Shanghai’s Sheshan International Golf Club to catch Finau.
Schauffele, 25, birdied the par-three 17th to move level with Finau as the two Americans went to the 18th tee tied at 13-under-par.
Both hit outstanding approaches to the reach the green on the par-five hole in two, and each sank birdie putts to go to 14-under after 72 holes.
Replaying the 18th for the playoff, Finau, 29, was up against it after he drove his tee shot into a fairway bunker.
Schauffele, meanwhile, reached the green in two, putting pressure on Finau to sink a birdie putt from the fringe of the green to stay alive.
The putt just missed, handing Schauffele the win.
A few holes earlier, the pair had pulled away from playing partner Justin Rose, the defending champion and world number three, who faltered late and finished four strokes back at 10-under.
The leading South African in the field was Erik van Rooyen, who ended tied for 22nd on one-over-par, 15 shots behind.
Schauffele’s previous wins came in 2017 – the Greenbrier Classic and the Tour Championship.
The WGC-HSBC Champions title bears a winner’s purse of $1.8 million.