Shanghai, Nov 8 (IANS) Scottish golfer Russell Knox created history when he held off the challenges from a star-studded field by carding a final round four-under-par 68 to win the WGC-HSBC Champions trophy here on Sunday.
Knox’s four-day total of 20-under-par 268 was enough to hand him a two-shot victory over American Kevin Kisner and become the first Scotsman to win a World Golf Championship (WGC) at the Sheshan International Golf Club.
England’s Danny Willett and Ross Fisher shared third place on 271 while American Dustin Johnson and South Africa’s Branden Grace were a further shot back in equal fifth place.
The final day charge by China’s Li Hao-tong did not materialise and he had to settle for a share of seventh place with three others that included Jordan Spieth of the United States.
Knox came into the final round holding a share of the lead after he had returned to finish the last hole of his third round with a birdie due to fading light the previous day.
The Scotsman stepped up to the tee again and immediately took command with two birdies in his first three holes. He dropped two shots on four and nine but would pick up another gain on six for an outward 35. He continued his charge towards the finishing line with another three birdies in his homeward-nine.
“All this sounds unbelievable. I always kind of thought I was going to win a big one for some reason as my first one. I’ve been close a few times before but this is going to take a long time to sink in. Deep down in my bones I felt I was capable of winning. I thought it was going to be maybe another year but I’m glad it happened now,” said Knox.
“Winning at any level is the hardest thing you can do, and especially because I’ve never won a big one like this. It was tough but I just kept holing putts, and golf is so much easier when that happens.”
For Kisner, it was another second-placed finish for the man who has been beaten in three play-offs on the PGA Tour this year. However, the American believes he will ultimately shed his ‘bridesmaid tag’ soon if he continues to play true to form.
Spieth, who had lit the course up on Saturday with a 63, fell out of contention after dropping two shots in his opening five holes. After turning in 36, he could only pick up birdies on 14 and 16 before settling for a 70.
Li also did not get off to the start that he had hoped for as he traded three bogeys, a double-bogey and three birdies for an outward 38. The Chinese managed to close with two birdies in his last three holes but they were not enough to give the home crowd a local victory which they were looking for.