McIlroy triumphs after playoff

2011-10-30 10:36

Shanghai - US Open champion Rory McIlroy defeated Anthony Kim of the United States in a sudden-death playoff on Sunday to win the Shanghai Masters.

McIlroy gave up an early three-shot lead before rallying from a stroke down on the back nine to finish level with Kim at 18-under 270 and force the playoff.

The 22-year-old Northern Irishman had a chance to win the championship with an 8-foot birdie putt on the 18th, but missed by inches.

Both players drove into the bunker on the first playoff hole, then both made equally well-placed shots out of the sand close to the pin. The American then missed his putt from about 3 feet, while McIlroy sank his 2-footer for the victory.

McIlroy claimed the $2 million first-place prize money, the richest in golf, while Kim took home $750 000. Thirty players took part in the invitational, first-year tournament, which isn't sanctioned by a major tour.

American Hunter Mahan (70) and South Korea's Noh Seung-yul (73) finished equal third at 13-under.

Lee Westwood hit a hole in one on the 12th hole and seven birdies for a 67, finishing in fifth place at 12-under. It was the best round of the week for the second-ranked Englishman, despite the fact he ended with two bogeys.

The final round turned into an unexpected duel between third-ranked McIlroy and the 82nd-ranked Kim, who has just three PGA tour victories to his credit.

There were echoes of McIlroy's stunning collapse at the Masters earlier this year when he sprayed shots all over the course and surrendered a four-shot lead in the final round at Augusta on his way to an 80.

After three rounds of relatively mistake-free golf in Shanghai, McIlroy hit into the water and bunkers, and missed several close putts. But this time, he was able to turn it around.

His troubles started on the first hole when he hit the pin with his approach shot, causing the ball to ricochet into the fringe for a bogey. Kim was able to quickly make up the difference, sinking three birdies to pull into a share of the lead at 18-under on the sixth hole.

After McIlroy answered with a birdie to retake the lead on No 7, he hit his second shot into the water on the difficult par-4 No 9, settling for a bogey and giving Kim another opening.

The American missed an easy putt from 5 feet out to take bogey himself and remain one shot back at the turn.

McIlroy's struggles continued on the back nine. The Northern Irishman hit into the bunker on the 11th and then three-putted for another bogey - his third of the day - to give Kim the sole.

After hitting into the bunker again and barely salvaging par on the 14th, McIlroy finally got a break on the 15th hole when he made a 5-footer for birdie and Kim missed from the same distance to even the score again.

McIlroy had a chance to take the lead on the 17th, but missed his birdie putt by less than inch. Then, on the final hole, he missed another putt by inches that would have given him the victory.

Ian Poulter (72) finished in sixth place at 11-under, while Retief Goosen (68) and KJ Choi (67) were in equal seventh at 8-under.

All the top players received appearance money and last place paid $25 000. Because the event isn't sanctioned by a major tour, there were no ranking points at stake.

The World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions is next week at the nearby Sheshan International.