Published: Wed, October 31, 2018
Sport | By Stuart Potter

Schauffele claims title in playoff

Schauffele claims title in playoff

Schauffele birdied his last two holes Sunday for a 4-under 68 and then two-putted for birdie on the par-5 18th in a playoff to beat Tony Finau and win the HSBC Champions.

Of Samoan and Tongan descent, Finau is the first player of that ancestry on the PGA Tour and the first Polynesian to play in the Ryder Cup, where he provided a rare bright spot as a US captain's pick in last month's crushing loss to Europe.

On the playoff hole, Finau hit his drive into a tough lie in a bunker and couldn't hit the green in two like Schauffele, who two-putted for a birdie and the win.

Defending champion Justin Rose (70), seeking to become the only player other than Tiger Woods to defend a World Golf Championships title, returned with a 70 to share second place with Americans Patrick Reed (70) and Xander Schauffele (69).

Brooks Koepka, who was making his debut as the world number one, made one birdie and one bogey in his round of 72. "Just keep plugging along and try to get that back and I was able to do that". Both Fleetwood and Finau were performing at a level similar to an average PGA TOUR professional (i.e. Strokes Gained of 0) near the end of the 2016 season.

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"It felt really good, because if you can go out and shoot rounds like that in these kind of conditions, you know you're going to have confidence when the wind dies down and there are flawless conditions out there", said Reed, who hit 12 of 14 fairways and all 18 greens.

Yet under the rules, the 25-year-old was allowed to replace it without penalty and he proceeded to emulate the birdie he had made on the 17th and so force sudden death with Finau.

"To still have the lead going into tomorrow, I'm pretty fortunate", said American Finau. Then, his 4-iron to the par-5 18th was too far right and tumbled down the hill and into the water. I knew I was playing well still and still at the top of the leaderboard.

Finau recorded eight birdies, one bogey and an unfortunate double bogey on the 11th, where his approach bounced off a sprinkler head and careered over the green. I just didn't make anything. His score got worse each day, but he'd done enough in the first two days to give himself a great chance at his first non-opposite field event win. Ryann O'Toole was third at 10 under after a 67.

TAOYUAN, Taiwan (AP) - Hsu Wei-Ling rode the support of her home crowd to shoot a 5-under 67 and take a one-stroke lead after two rounds of the LPGA Taiwan Championship.

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