Garcia wins HSBC Champions in playoff and moves past Mickelson in world ranking

Garcia wins HSBC Champions in playoff and moves past Mickelson in world ranking

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SHANGHAI, China (AP) — Sergio Garcia won the rain-delayed HSBC Champions to take the No. 2 spot in the world rankings behind Tiger Woods, beating Oliver Wilson with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff Monday.

The Spanish star made a 7-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th – the only hole used for the playoff at Sheshan Golf Club – after the Englishman missed a 10-footer.

Garcia won The Players Championship and his home-course Castellon Masters, and also has finished second or tied for second in three events this season. One was the PGA Championship – one of the four majors.

“I’m just so proud to win, and well, No. 2 in the world,” said Garcia, who earned $833,300. “So I’m very happy. It’s a great week. The last seven months have been very, very positive since my win at The Players.”

Garcia forced the playoff by holing a 5-foot birdie on 18 to finish with a 4-under 68 and match Wilson at 14-under 274. Wilson, a surprise star for Europe in the Ryder Cup, reached the playoff by saving his par on 18 with a 7-footer for a 70.

Wilson is winless on the European tour, but has eight second-place finishes. It was the fourth playoff this year for Wilson and Garcia.

“It’s been a very solid year,” Garcia said. “I had some hard losses this year but we came back strong and we’re finishing the year very nicely.

“When you get into a sudden-death playoff, you have to hit the right shot at the right time, but you have to get lucky at the same time. It’s happened to me a couple of times this year where I thought I won the playoff and I wound up losing.”

Wilson is tired of finishing No. 2.

“It’s just getting to a stage where second is not enough anymore,” Wilson said. “There was a time when I was pleased to be finishing there, and it’s gone.”

The finish moved Garcia into the No. 2 spot in the world rankings behind Tiger Woods, pushing Phil Mickelson to No. 3.

Mickelson, the 2007 champion, shot a 73 to tie for eighth in the $5 million tournament, five strokes behind the leaders.

Peter Hanson (66) and Geoff Ogilvy (70) finished a stroke off the lead, while Henrik Stenson (71) was three behind.

Garcia and Wilson were the survivors on the back nine, which saw four players – Garcia, Wilson, Hanson and Ogilvy – tied at 13 under over the closing holes.

All play was washed out Friday, and rain slowed the start on Saturday which forced the Monday finish. Wilson played two holes of the final round on Sunday, and Garcia got in three before darkness stopped play.

The rain and darkness made for a clumsy finish, but Garcia wasn’t complaining.

“You have to deal with it,” Garcia said. “You can’t do anything about it so you just stay patient.”

The event was the first of the 2009 European tour season, which will end next November in the Dubai World Championship. The European tour also rebranded the Order of Merit – the season money title – and now calls it the Race to Dubai. That tournament will have a $10 million purse with $10 million more available in bonus money.

The HSBC also is being suggested as a possible World Golf Championships event. All three are now played in the United States.

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