(Reuters) – Xander Schauffele waded into the debate over the world’s best golfer after finishing runner-up to Rory McIlroy in a playoff at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai on Sunday.
Schauffele could not quite repeat last year’s victory at Sheshan International, but was somewhat consoled by taking the fight to the Northern Irishman to the very end, despite suffering from flu-like symptoms.
Two shots down with four holes left, the American displayed an impressive putting touch down the stretch, sinking a six-foot birdie at the 15th hole and then a five-footer at the last to tie it up.
But having reeled in McIlroy, Schauffele let him wriggle free at the first extra hole.
“When he’s on, I’d say he’s arguably the best player in the world,” said Schauffele, who could hardly have been more impressed by McIlroy’s brilliant long and straight driving for most of the championship.
“He made me play better. I know what I need to do to become a better player.”
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