SHANGHAI — Given another shot at winning the HSBC Champions, Rory McIlroy delivered his best one of the day.
Even though he never trailed over the last 14 holes Sunday — and didn't make a bogey all weekend — McIlroy felt fortunate to be standing on the tee at the par-5 18th in a playoff with Xander Schauffele, who won this World Golf Championship event a year ago.
On the final hole in regulation, McIlroy thought his drive was in the water and so was relieved to find the ball a foot from the red hazard line.
After five hours of an exquisite battle between McIlroy, Schauffele and Louis Oosthuizen, the pivotal moment was when Schauffele reached into a hat on the 18th tee for a white slip of paper with "2" written on it. That meant McIlroy would go first in the playoff.
There were no doubts about his next two shots.
The world's second-ranked golfer followed a soaring drive down the middle of the fairway with a 4-iron shot from 223 yards into the wind that put the ball 25 feet from the cup and set up a two-putt birdie for the victory.
"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," the 30-year-old from Northern Ireland said. "But I've had enough experiences, and I've got a lot of great memories to draw back on. There's so many shots that I've hit under pressure that I can draw on."
He added another one at Sheshan International Golf Club, and he needed every one of them to hold off a bold performance by Schauffele, the 26-year-old American who spent four days trying to recover from the flu and nearly left Shanghai as the only player to win back-to-back HSBC Champions titles.
McIlroy did everything right, though, closing with a 4-under 68 and going bogey-free over the last 39 holes he played.
Schauffele made him do a little more with birdies on two of the last four holes for a 66 to force a playoff at 19-under 269. That was as close as it got. Schauffele tugged his tee shot into thick rough near a bunker, laid up and narrowly missed a 12-foot birdie putt.
McIlroy won for the fourth time this year. It was his third WGC title and his first since the 2015 Match Play.
South Africa's Oosthuizen closed with a 69 to finish two shots out of the playoff.
Bulldog has bite in Bermuda
SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda — Former University of Georgia golfer Brendon Todd ran away with the inaugural Bermuda Championship for his second PGA Tour title, closing with a 9-under 62 after flirting with a sub-60 round at hilly but mostly calm Port Royal Golf Club.
Two months after regaining his PGA Tour card in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, the 34-year-old Todd earned a two-year exemption, $540,000 and spots next year at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, The Players Championship and the PGA Championship. He won the 2014 Byron Nelson for first PGA Tour title, then went 100 starts before breaking through again.
Needing to birdie the final two holes to shoot 59, Todd missed a 20-foot birdie try on the par-5 17th and closed with a bogey after taking three shots to reach the green on the par-4 18th. He finished at 24-under 260 for a four-stroke victory over 54-hole leader Harry Higgs, who closed with a 68 that included an eagle on the par-5 17th hole but also a double bogey on the seventh, a shorter par-5.
Two strokes behind Higgs after three rounds, Todd opened his final 18 with a par, then birdied the next seven holes as well as Nos. 10, 11 and 15.
A four-time All-American who helped the Bulldogs win the 2005 NCAA championship, Todd will jump from 525th in the World Golf Ranking to inside the top 190.
Brian Gay (67), Hank Lebioda (63), Scottie Scheffler (66) and Aaron Wise (65) tied for third at 18 under.
American repeats at LPGA Tour event
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Nelly Korda birdied the first hole of a three-way playoff to repeat as champion at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship.
The 21-year-old American and Australia's Minjee Lee both birdied the final hole of regulation, with Korda finishing off a 72 and Lee a 69 to finish at 18-under 270 and force a playoff with Germany's Caroline Masson (68).
Korda, who had a three-stroke lead over Lee after three rounds, looked set to win in regulation after a birdie on the par-5 No. 12 gave her a three-shot lead. But she bogeyed three of her final five holes in regulation to fall one stroke back of Masson before a birdie on 18 kept her in contention.
Masson took the lead after back-to-back birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 but closed with par on the final two holes.
In the playoff on the par-5 18th, Korda was the only one to find the fairway and hit a perfect second shot to set up an eagle chance. She left the eagle putt short but still secured her third career LPGA Tour title and became the first American with multiple wins in the 2019 season, having also won the Australian Open in February.
Tied for fourth and four strokes out of the playoff were Canada's Brooke Henderson (68) and South Korea's Mi Jung Hur (71) and Sei Young Kim (69).
Monty is clutch in California
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Colin Montgomerie won the Invesco QQQ Championship with a par on the first hole of a playoff after fellow World Golf Hall of Famer Bernhard Langer took four strokes to get out of a greenside bunker.
With Langer finally on the par-4 18th green in six shots, Montgomerie two-putted for the victory, with the 56-year-old from Scotland tapping in from two feet to end the second of three events in the PGA Tour Champions' Charles Schwab Cup playoffs.
Playing five groups ahead of Langer, Montgomerie made a 40-foot birdie putt in regulation on 18 for a tournament-record 9-under 63. He was five strokes out of the lead after two rounds but finished regulation at 14-under 202 before taking the playoff for his seventh victory on the 50-and-older tour.
Langer parred the final four holes for a 67, leaving a 15-foot birdie try short on 18. The 62-year-old German has 40 senior victories.
Montgomerie birdied four of his first five holes Sunday at Sherwood Country Club, chipped in for a birdie on No. 10 and an eagle on No. 11 and also birdied the 16th.
A stroke back and sharing third were South Africa's Retief Goosen (69), the second-round leader, and Tommy Tolles (66) of the United States.
The top 36 in the season standings advanced to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, which starts Thursday Phoenix.