GOLF

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

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-5 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.

McIlroy did everything right, closing with a 4-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.

PGA: Brendon Todd ran away with the Bermuda Championship for his second tour title, shooting a 9-under 62 after flirting with a sub-60 round at calm Port Royal Golf Club at Southampton, Bermuda.

Needing to birdie the final two holes to shoot 59, Todd missed a 20-foot birdie try on the par-5 17th and closed with a bogey after taking three shots to reach the green on the par-4 18th. He finished at 24-under 260 for a four-stroke victory over Harry Higgs.

LPGA: American Nelly Korda successfully defended her title in the LPGA Swinging Skirts, birdieing the first hole of a playoff with Australia’s Minjee Lee and Germany Caroline Masson at Taipei, Taiwan.

Korda, 21, reached the par-5 18th in two in the playoff and two-putted for her third LPGA Tour victory.

CHAMPIONS: Colin Montgomerie won the Invesco QQQ Championship with a par on the first hole of a playoff after Bernhard Langer took four strokes to get out of a greenside bunker at Thousand Oaks, California.

COLLEGES

FOOTBALL: Florida State fired second-year football coach Willie Taggart less than 24 hours after the Seminoles lost to rival Miami and with the team in danger of missing a bowl game for the second consecutive season.

Taggart was 9-12 at Florida State, which won the national title in 2013 and has been in a freefall for the last three seasons. The Seminoles have not been ranked this season, are 0-5 against rivals Miami, Florida and Clemson under Taggart and attendance for games at Doak Campbell Stadium has plummeted.

• Syracuse Coach Dino Babers fired defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brian Ward, effective immediately.

Babers said in a release from the university that he felt “a change needed to be made at this time.” Defensive ends coach Steve Stanard has been promoted to defensive coordinator on an interim basis.

The move came a day after the Syracuse defense allowed a school-record 496 yards rushing in a humiliating 58-27 home loss to Boston College, which set a school record of its own with 691 yards offensively.

• Navy moved into The Associated Press poll at No. 25, giving the American Athletic Conference four ranked teams, more than all but the Big Ten and the Southeastern Conference.

With nine ranked teams off this weekend, including four of the top five, there was little movement throughout the AP Top 25. LSU is No. 1 for a second consecutive week and Alabama is No. 2. The Tigers and Crimson Tide on Saturday will play the first regular-season 1-2 game since the same two did it in 2011.

Navy joins fellow AAC members No. 17 Cincinnati, No. 19 Memphis and No. 23 SMU in the Top 25. Four ranked teams matches a high for the 7-year-old American, which was born from the collapse of the Big East.

Georgia jumped two spots to No. 6 after beating Florida in the weekend’s biggest game.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: UConn says forward Batouly Camara will have knee surgery Monday and will miss the start of the season.

The 6-foot-2 transfer from Kentucky played in 25 games last season, missing time with a sprain in her right knee.

FIELD HOCKEY: Janne Wetzel scored with 1:18 left in the game as Virginia Commonwealth beat UMaine 2-1 at Amherst, Massachusetts.

Nina Keur scored for the Black Bears (8-9) with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter.

Litaiana Field tied the game for the Rams (8-9) with 43 seconds remaining in the third, converting a pass from Maine Strum. Field assisted on Wetzel’s winning goal also.

AUTO RACING

FORMULA ONE: Lewis Hamilton secured his sixth Formula One championship with a second-place finish at the U.S. Grand Prix, a race won by his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas at Austin, Texas.

The British driver now ranks second in F1 history behind German Michael Schumacher’s record seven titles. Hamilton has won the last three season championships and locked this one up with two races left.

SOCCER

ITALY: Brescia striker Mario Balotelli threatened to leave the field due to racist chants directed at him by Hellas Verona fans during a top-tier soccer game at Verona, Italy.

Visibly upset as he fought for the ball near the corner flag at the end of the stadium where the monkey chants were emanating from, Balotelli interrupted the action, picked up the ball with his hands and angrily drop-kicked it high into the stands to vent his frustration.

Brescia teammates and Verona players went over to embrace Balotelli and persuaded him to stay as the referee ordered a warning to be read out over the stadium’s public address system. Verona won the game, 2-1.

GERMANY: Bayern Munich fired coach Niko Kovac one day after the German champion slumped to its heaviest Bundesliga defeat in more than 10 years.

Bayern lost 5-1 at Kovac’s former team Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, the team’s second league loss and the fifth game from 10 in which it has dropped points this season.

Bayern says Kovac’s assistant, Hansi Flick, will take over “for the time being” and will be in charge for Wednesday’s Champions League game at home against Olympiakos.

TENNIS

PARIS MASTERS: Novak Djokovic beat a nervous Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4 to win his fifth Paris Masters final and 34th overall Masters title to move one behind all-time leader Rafael Nadal.

Shapovalov had a walkover into his first Masters final because the second-ranked Nadal pulled out of their semifinal with an abdominal strain.

WTA FINALS: Ashleigh Barty added to a career year by winning her first WTA Finals title in her first appearance at the season-ending event with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over defending champion Elina Svitolina of Ukraine at Shenzhen, China.

The title adds to the 23-year-old Australian’s lengthy list of achievements in 2019 including her first Grand Slam title at the French Open. She also rose to the No. 1 ranking in the game and is now enjoying her 15th week in the top spot, becoming the first Australian to hold the year-end top spot.

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