SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Russell Knox fired a final round four-under-par 68 to win the WGC-HSBC Champions event on his World Golf Championships debut on Sunday, the Scot finishing two shots clear of Kevin Kisner at the Sheshan International Golf Club.
The only player not to complete his third round in fading light on Saturday, Knox returned to the course early on Sunday and birdied the par-five 18th to join American Kisner at the top of the leaderboard after 54 holes.
The 30-year-old then used some supreme wedge play to offset two bogeys with six birdies on his way to a 20-under 268 total to become the first Scot to win a WGC event and also the first debutant to claim victory since Jeff Maggert in 1999.
“China is now my favourite place in the world,” Knox said after recording his maiden U.S. PGA and European Tour triumph.
“I can’t wait to come back here. For me, this now my favourite golf course and I’m over the moon.
“It sounds unbelievable. I always kind of thought I was going to win a big one, for some reason, as my first one. I have been close a few times before but yes, it’s going to take a long time to sink in,” added the Florida-based Scot.
Kisner again fell agonisingly short of claiming a first PGA Tour victory after signing off with a 70 to register his fourth runner-up finish of the year, the other three all coming in playoffs.
Danny Willett finished with the best round of the week, firing 10 birdies in his splendid 62 to join fellow Briton Ross Fisher (68) in a tie for third on 17-under and maintain his pursuit of Rory McIlroy in the European Tour Race to Dubai.
“It’s special shooting 62 at home with the lads, it’s always nice, but in a World Golf Championships on a Sunday when it means something a bit more, obviously it’s that little bit more special,” the 28-year-old said.
World number three McIlroy, who struggled with food poisoning at the start of the week, ended his tournament with a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th for a 66 as the Northern Irishman finished just outside the top 10 on 14-under.
Jordan Spieth, who sizzled with a 63 on Saturday, carded a disappointing 70 to tie for seventh on 15-under but the American will have the consolation of leapfrogging absent Australian Jason Day at the top of the world rankings on Monday.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O’Brien)