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Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland admires his trophy after winning the HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai on Sunday.HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images

Given another shot at winning the HSBC Champions, Rory McIlroy delivered his best of the day.

Even though he never trailed over the last 14 holes Sunday, and he didn’t make a bogey all weekend, McIlroy felt fortunate to be standing on the tee at the par-five 18th in a playoff with defending champion Xander Schauffele.

On the final hole in regulation, McIlroy thought his drive was in the water, relieved to find it was a foot from the red hazard line.

After five hours of an exquisite battle among McIlroy, Schauffele and Louis Oosthuizen, the pivotal moment was when Schauffele reached into a hat on the 18th tee for a white slip of paper with “2” written on it. That meant McIlroy would go first in the playoff.

And there was no doubt about his next two shots.

He followed a soaring drive down the middle of the fairway with a 4 iron from 223 yards into the wind to 25 feet that set up a two-putt birdie for the victory.

And he needed every one of them to hold off a bold performance by Schauffele, who spent four days trying to recover from the flu and nearly left Shanghai as the only player to win back to back in the HSBC Champions.

McIlroy did everything right, closing with a four-under 68 and going bogey-free over the last 39 holes he played.

Schauffele made him do a little more with birdies on two of the last four holes for a 66 to force a playoff at 19-under 269. That was as close as it got. Schauffele tugged his tee shot into thick rough near a bunker, laid up and narrowly missed a 12-foot birdie putt.

McIlroy won for the fourth time this year. It was his third World Golf Championships title and his first since the Match Play at Harding Park in 2015.

McIlroy moves a little closer to Brooks Koepka at No. 1 in the world with one tournament left, the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai the week before Thanksgiving to close out what already has been a special year. This is the fourth time McIlroy has won at least four times in a season.

He cannot catch Koepka this year even if McIlroy were to win in Dubai.

Phil Mickelson closed with a 68 and tied for 28th. With Shugo Imahira finishing second on the Japan Golf Tour, Mickelson will drop out of the top 50 in the world for the first time since Nov. 28, 1993, the longest consecutive streak in the top 50 since the Official World Golf Ranking began in 1986.

McIlroy now gets a two-week break before wrapping up his year in Dubai.

Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., finished tied for 20th. Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., tied for 46th.

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