Rory McIlroy’s hopes of a fourth Race to Dubai title were sparked to life in Shanghai as the Northern Irishman surged up the Rankings with a play-off victory over Xander Schauffele at WGC-HSBC Champions.
The two-time DP World Tour Championship winner started the final round with a one stroke lead over South African Louis Oosthuizen following three consecutive rounds of 67 at Sheshan Golf Club. The 30 year old still had a one shot advantage over defending champion Schauffele on the 18th but a birdie from the American took the tournament to extra holes before McIlroy superbly sealed the trophy with a birdie of his own on the first trip back up the 18th to become the first European to win three World Golf Championships.
“There’s a lot of stuff that people don’t see behind the scenes just in terms of hard work and putting the hours in at home,” said McIlroy, who rises to fifth from 33rd in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai Rankings after picking up 1,500 points. “But all of that, it’s not work, really. It’s playing golf for a living. I’d be in trouble if I did have to work for a living.
“To practise hard and to do all the right things and to see it pay off like this and get wins like this makes it all worthwhile.
“I have one more event left in Dubai. I want to finish the season off as well as I can. I really wanted to get another win before the end of the year and now that I’ve done that, it would be nice to get two wins.”
Oosthuizen carded a final round 69 to finish two shots off adrift of the leaders in third. The 37 year old collects 565 Race to Dubai points which moves him up to eighth from 11th in the Rankings on 2,357.6 points for the season.
Meanwhile, Frenchman Victor Perez edged closer to the Race to Dubai top ten after climbing up to 13th from 19th following his tied fourth finish in China alongside Abraham Ancer and Matthias Schwab, who moved up to 18th from 32nd in the Rankings.
The top 50 players in the Race to Dubai Rankings will contest the season-ending US$8 million DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai from November 21-24 where US$3 million will be up for grabs for the winner, making it the richest first prize in world tournament golf. The top five ranked players in the Race to Dubai will also share US$ 5 million with the winner pocketing a cool US$2 million.