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KNOX CLAIMS MAIDEN TITLE IN SHANGHAI

Willett turns up the heat on McIlroy

Russell Knox claimed his first European Tour title as Danny Willett gave his Race to Dubai hopes a major boost on a dramatic final day of the World Golf Championships - HSBC Champions.

Knox came into the final round in a share of the lead and a closing 68 around Sheshan International Golf Club took him to 20 under and handed him a two shot victory over Kevin Kisner.

Willett surged up the leaderboard into a share of third in stunning fashion early in the day, posting ten birdies in an unblemished 62 which proved to be the round of the week and moved him closer to Race to Dubai leader Rory McIlroy.

Knox becomes the first Scotsman to win a WGC event and he held his nerve on the back nine, opening a two shot lead with birdies on the tenth and 11th before a sixth birdie of the day on the 16th calmed any nerves.

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 - Russell Knox

“It’s incredible. I always hoped it was going to happen but you’re just never sure. There’s just so many unbelievable players on tours all around the world and to win at this stage is a dream come true. I still can’t quite believe it.

“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 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 US PGA Tour in 2015.

Ross Fisher was alongside Willett at 17 under after a closing 68 with Branden Grace and Dustin Johnson a further shot back.

Matthew Fitzpatrick, local favourite Li Haotong, Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth, who returned to World Number One, were then at 15 under, with McIlroy in the group of six players another shot behind. 

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