Shanghai: US Open champion Rory McIlroy held his nerve in the closing stages to edge out American Anthony Kim in a sudden death playoff and pocket the USD 2 million (1 million pounds) winner`s cheque at the Shanghai Masters.
The Northern Irishman, who led by three strokes overnight, fell behind on the 11th hole but rallied to force Kim into a playoff with an even-par round of 72, matching the American`s 18-under 270 at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Lake Malaren course.
The 22-year old had a chance to win in regulation play but narrowly missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th to head into a playoff at the 30-player, non-sanctioned invitational event.
"I`ll be the first to say I haven`t won enough in my four years as a pro. I should have won a lot more," the mop-haired McIlroy said in a television interview.
"Today was great for me... under pressure on the back nine. One behind with four to play.”
"To win from that position gives me a lot of satisfaction. I don`t care how I win as long as my name is on that trophy at the end of the day."
On the first extra hole, the par-four 18th, McIlroy landed his chip from a greenside bunker to within a foot of the cup after both players had sent their approach shots next to each other in the sand.
Kim left himself a five-foot putt for par after his bunker shot but could only look on in horror as his putt to the left of the cup kept its line and skimmed past the lip to gift McIlroy the victory.
"When I went out today with a three-shot lead, I figured if I could shoot in the 60s it would have been enough but it was tricky out there today," McIlroy said.
"The wind was stronger than it had been in the first three days. Anthony has played great all week and got off to a fast start when I didn`t. I had to hang tough on the back nine."
American Hunter Mahan and South Korea`s Noh Seung-yul finished in a tie for third at 13-under in the inaugural event, a stroke clear of Briton Lee Westwood, who recorded a hole-in-one on the par-three 12th.
McIlroy said the USD 2 million first prize was not on his mind when he squandered his first chance of claiming the title.
"All I was thinking the first time was `I want to hole this putt because I don`t want to go into a playoff`," he said.
"It really never crossed my mind until that last putt went in. I just wanted another win as I feel I have been close to winning the past few weeks but haven`t got it done. To get another win is nice."
McIlroy, currently second on the European Tour money-list, has set his sights on overtaking world number one Englishman Luke Donald to win the order of merit that culminates at the Dubai World Championship in December.
"I want to get closer to Luke (Donald) in the Race to Dubai. I know he`s not playing next week (the WGC Champions event in Shanghai) and I feel I am playing well enough to contend there," he said.
"So a big week next week could put me in the frame to win the Race to Dubai."
Donald, who recently won the US PGA Tour money-list title, withdrew from next week`s event to be at home in the US with his wife Diane, who is due to give birth to their second child.