World Number Two Phil Mickelson survived a nervous final hole to edge out South Africa's Ernie Els by one shot and win the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions following a pulsating final round in Shanghai.
With Els in the clubhouse following a nine under par 63, the third course record of the day, Mickelson survived finding rough twice on his final hole to claim a second HSBC Champions title in three years and second WGC title of his career following March's CA Championship success.
Mickelson signed for a final round score of three under 69 to finish at 17 under par overall.
Fellow three-time Major winner Els will be left to rue his only bogey of the day at the 18th after hitting his approach into the water at the front of the green.
“It feels terrific to have won this tournament,” said Mickelson. “This has been a very special event to have a World Golf Championships here in China, and to be the champion feels great. This is my last event of the year. I won't play again until the end of January, and so to finish the year with this victory feels wonderful.
“Ernie played one of the greatest rounds, shot a course record, along with Rory and I was very fortunate to come out on top. This feels terrific because I had to fight very hard. Nothing came easy - I didn't hit it great. The putts weren't falling, and yet I hung in there and was able to win by one.
“The putt (on 16) was the critical moment for me. It was not an easy putt, it broke quite a bit and I had to feed it in from the side, and it was the best putt I made all week.”
Ryan Moore carded a final round 68 to finish two shots off the pace in third, with Rory McIlroy boosting his Race to Dubai bid after a brilliant 63 earned fourth at 14 under.
Nick Watney's final round 71 ensured fifth ahead of another Race to Dubai contender, Martin Kaymer (67), and an out-of-sorts Tiger Woods.
The World Number One began the final round two shots behind Mickelson in second, but a level par 72 left Woods five adrift and tied for sixth with Kaymer following runner-up finishes on his previous two trips to Shanghai.
On a day Woods uncharacteristically missed several short putts, his round was summed up at the last as he hit through the green and into water to ship a third bogey of the day.
Alvaro Quiros (66) and Race to Dubai leader Lee Westwood (71) shared eighth at 11 under to set up a thrilling climax with just two events remaining.
Almost unnoticed with the battle at the top of the leaderboard, Japan's Daisuke Maruyama, playing only his second event on The European Tour, earlier posted the first of the three new course records to claim a tie for tenth alongside Anthony Kim, Retief Goosen, Søren Kjeldsen, Francesco Molinari, Geoff Ogilvy and Pat Perez.
With third round leader Mickelson in the final group and two groups behind, Els tapped home a birdie at the par three 17th to take the lead by one after beginning the day seven shots off the pace.
But then Els completely mis-hit his second shot into the par five 18th and dumped his approach into the water at the front of the green.
“I had 218 yards to the front of the green, but I was on a severe downslope and I was in between clubs, thinking I couldn't carry a four iron to the front, because I can hit my four iron to about 215,” said Els, whose card included eight birdies and one eagle.
“I tried to take a five wood, aim left and hit a big cut. But because of the downhill, I kind of stood back on my swing, and I hit the ground first, basically duffed it. For me to come back all of the way, to actually share the lead at that point, was quite nice. I'm disappointed about that, but I'm going to really think about the 63 I shot. I can't complain.
Mickelson then saved a par at the 16th with an 18 foot putt after appearing to be heading for a bogey after duffing his chipped second shot.
With Els eventually shipping a bogey at the last to post the clubhouse lead at 16 under, Mickelson rolled home a six foot birdie putt at the 17th to claim a one shot lead.
But the drama did not stop there as Mickelson hit his final tee shot into the crowd at the side of the fairway and was faced with a buried lie in the trampled rough.
With Els watching on TV, Mickelson could only advance into the rough with his second but held his nerve to find the green and with two putts for the title, rolled his first to within a foot before tapping home.
Giles Morgan, Group Head of Sponsorship at HSBC said: “It was a thrilling final day and Phil is a great and deserving champion. We are delighted with the way everything has gone this week. To have delivered such a successful event in our first year wearing the WGC badge is very gratifying.”