SHANGHAI (AFP) Italys Francesco Molinari held off new world number one Lee Westwood of England on Sunday to take the HSBC Champions title in Shanghai in a thrilling finale that went down to the last hole. Westwood needed to sink an eagle putt on the 18th to force a playoff but his effort drifted wide, giving Molinari a well-deserved second career victory after four impressive rounds in Shanghai. Molinari and Westwood had ended each day first and second, pulling away from the rest of the pack as they duelled each other, but Westwood was never able to seize the lead despite showing the form that has earned him the top ranking. He is the number one in the world and played fantastic golf, putting me under real pressure all the time and all the way to the end, said Molinari, who leaps up 16 spots to 14th in the world rankings with his win. The (other players) were seven or eight shots behind and we just focused on each other and trying to birdie every hole because we were both playing well and knew that par was not good enough. Molinari shot a five-under 67 on Sunday to end the tournament a combined 19 under par, while Westwoods 67 left him one stroke back. Westwood said there were no negatives in a performance that saw him avoid bogeys in the final two rounds despite playing only sporadically in recent months due to nagging leg injuries. Thats pretty good after three weeks off hardly hitting the ball, he said. Scotlands Richie Ramsay tied with Englishman Luke Donald for third place on nine under par in Asias premier golf tournament at the Sheshan International Golf Club. A final-day 67 lifted Northern Irelands Rory McIlroy into fourth place. Tiger Woods rebounded from disappointing middle rounds with a face-saving 68 on Sunday but that left him with only a share of sixth place for the tournament at seven under. It was the struggling American superstars first tournament in five years without the world number one ranking after Westwood supplanted him at the top last week to cap a miserable year for Woods. Overall I felt like Ive been hitting it well and its just a matter of being patient, said Woods, who is trying to correct his recent poor form with new coach Sean Foley. Woodss game has tanked since revelations of his extramarital affairs emerged a year ago, ruining his marriage to ex-wife Elin Nordegren and leading to a five-month hiatus from golf. He has not won a tournament since. Westwoods stellar showing secures his hold on the top ranking. The world numbers two through four Woods, Germanys Martin Kaymer and defending HSBC Champ Phil Mickelson also had stood a chance to take the top spot with a win in Shanghai. But Kaymer finished the tournament well back at two under par while Mickelson came in at one over. The rankings come as a consequence of playing well, and Im playing well and I know I am, said Westwood, who has faced questions about his failure so far to win a Major. Today is just very typical of how Ive played for the last two years. Molinari and Westwood put on a show for the gallery, with the Italian moving two strokes ahead with a birdie on the par-5 second hole, and Westwood pulling back within one with a birdie of his own on the 10th. The turning point came on the 16th hole, when Westwoods weak chip failed to reach the green. He parred while Molinari birdied to go two strokes up. After both parred the 17th, Westwood boldly swung for the green on his second shot of the par-5 18th as Molinari laid up safely. That left Westwood needing the eagle putt of about 25 feet that was not to be. Just needed the breaks to win and didnt happen, Westwood said. Besides his big boost in the rankings, Molinari also takes 1.2 million dollars of the tournaments seven-million-dollar purse. The HSBC Champions got a major boost in prestige when it was elevated last year to one of four World Golf Championships events.