Spain's Sergio Garcia won the rain-disrupted $5 million HSBC Champions after a playoff against Britain's Oliver Wilson yesterday to overtake Phil Mickelson as world No 2.
The 28-year-old, who carded a final round 4-under-par 68 to finish the tournament at 14-under alongside Wilson, slotted home a seven-foot birdie putt while his rival could only manage a par five on his third go at the 18th for the day.
"I'm just so proud to win and (become) No 2 in the world so I'm very happy," said the Spaniard, who will pick up a cheque for $833,300.
Sergio Garcia poses with his trophy [Sina.com.cn]
Garcia's eighth win on the European Tour - his second in three weeks after his Castello Masters victory - was technically the first of the 2009 season, which features a lucrative new season-ending championship in Dubai.
"It feels awesome to be the first winner on the race to Dubai, I guess that will go down in history so it's always nice to do something like that," said the Spaniard, who also won the Players Championship in a playoff this year.
Overnight leader Wilson, who hit a 70 in his final round, is still looking for his first victory on the European Tour after finishing second for the fifth time this year and the eighth time in his career.
Sweden's Peter Hanson, who had an eagle two in a final round of 66, shared third place on 13-under with Australia's former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, who finished with a 70.
Another Swede, Henrik Stenson, was fifth two shots further back after a 71, while South African Charl Schwartzel and Australian Adam Scott both shot 70s and shared sixth on 10-under.
Mickelson, last year's winner, carded a 73 to finish seventh and will cede the No 2 ranking behind Tiger Woods that he has held for one year and eight weeks since Sept 3, 2007.
"That's not as big a concern right now," said the 38-year-old, whose title defence effectively ended in the trees beside the 15th fairway.
"Having won this tournament last year, I know somewhat about the points where I was going to lose points if I didn't win. So I knew I needed to win to kind of hold on to that spot."
Garcia trailed Wilson by two shots after a bogey in fading light on the third hole of his fourth round on Sunday evening and he dropped another shot at the fifth on Monday morning.
A string of three birdies pushed him back to the top of the leaderboard, locked in a three-way battle with Wilson and Hanson.
He picked up another shot at the 14th but Wilson, playing in the group behind, matched him with a superb 20 foot birdie putt and moved back in front with an eight-footer at the 16th.
Garcia was not done yet, however, and forced the playoff with another birdie at the 18th, where he would then go on to claim the title on the second extra hole.
(Agencies via China Daily November 11, 2008)