Magnificent McIlroy claims play-off win in Shanghai

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy became the first European to win three World Golf Championship titles in dramatic fashion.

WGC-HSBC Champions winner Rory McIlroy birdied the first extra hole to dethrone defending champion Xander Schauffle at Sheshan International Golf Club on Sunday.

WGC-HSBC Champions winner Rory McIlroy birdied the first extra hole to dethrone defending champion Xander Schauffle at Sheshan International Golf Club on Sunday.   -  Getty Images

Rory McIlroy came out on top in a play-off with Xander Schauffle to win the WGC-HSBC Champions and complete a historic hat-trick in Shanghai.

Four-time major champion McIlroy birdied the first extra hole to dethrone defending champion Schauffle at Sheshan International Golf Club on Sunday.

McIlroy's dramatic triumph made him the first European to win three World Golf Championship titles and took his tally of tournament victories this year to four.

The Northern Irishman started the day with a one-shot advantage and that is how he finished it after carding a bogey-free four-under 68, before a magnificent approach shot got him on the green in two on a second trip down 18.

FedEx Cup champion McIlroy missed a putt for an eagle, but his fifth birdie of the day was enough to win the tournament for the first time.

Schauffle, winner of a play-off at this event last year, birdied 18 to card a closing six-under 66 and join McIlroy on 19 under, but his tee shot in the play-off found thick rough at the side of a bunker and he me missed a birdie putt from 12 feet after having to lay up.

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The American, suffering with the flu all week, reeled off three birdies in a row after a bogey at six to hit the turn in 32, trailing McIlroy by just a shot.

McIlroy was two strokes in front with four to play but gains at 15 and the last kept Schauffle in the hunt to defend his title before falling just short.

Louis Oosthuizen finished in third spot on 17 under after a three-under final round of 69, having been joint-leader with McIlroy when he drained a birdie putt at the eighth.

Dropped shots at nine and 11 cost the South African, while Matthas Schwab and Victor Perez finished with magnificent rounds of 66 to share third place along with Abraham Ancer.