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Golf: Knox wins HSBC Champions; Li Haotong shines at Sheshan

Russell Knox won his first WGC-HBC Champions title. Photo: Asian Tour.

Russell Knox won his first WGC-HBC Champions title. Photo: Asian Tour.

November 8, 2015: Scotland’s 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 on Sunday.

 

Knox’s four-day total of 20-under-par 268 at Sheshan International Golf Club was enough for him to secure a two-shot victory over American Kevin Kisner and become the first Scotsman to win a World Golf Championship.

 

English duo Danny Willett and Ross Fisher shared third on 17-under, while American Dustin Johnson and South Africa’s Branden Grace were a further shot back in fifth.

 

The final day charge by Li Haotong, tied second overnight, did not materialise and the 20-year-old Chinese had to settle for a share of seventh with three other players including Jordan Spieth, whose result was projected to move him back up to World No. 1.

 

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,” Knox said.

 

“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.

 

“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 finish for the man who has been beaten in three playoffs 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.

 

“That’s all right. I’ll keep finishing second and I’ll keep giving myself a shot and I know I’ll win one of them,” said Kisner

 

Li 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.

 

“I had a really tough time in my first five holes and like how the year has been, there were lots of up-and-down throughout the round,” Li said.

 

“But I have to give thanks to my fans for always supporting me. It is incredible for me this week. This for me is very, very big.”

 

Source: Asian Tour (www.asiantour.com); Editing by SportAsia

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