Rory McIlroy yesterday moved up to the hitherto unvisited heights of the world top two – but was still made to feel inferior in the process.
"I would have had to do something very special to win today," said the Ulsterman after finishing fourth.
The winner of the WGC-HSBC Champions actually started one shot behind McIlroy, which proves just how special Martin Kaymer's final-round 63 was.
The German trod all over a high-class field to re-state his supreme quality as a ball-striker and a finisher. This was the 26-year-old's first title in 10 months, though on this form it is difficult to see how he could manage to go 10 days without winning.
Kaymer was five behind after six holes and three clear at the 18th to demote the Swede Freddie Jacobson to second. Kaymer did so courtesy of an astonishing run of nine birdies in 12 holes.
"The last time that happened I think was when I shot the 59 five years ago [on the German Tour], when I shot 14 under for the last 16 holes," he said. "That was a good round. So was this."
Exactly how good is maybe best revealed by the fact that it was the best score of the day by two. The Sheshan International is certainly no pitch and putt. Lee Westwood shot a 74 and had to reel off four birdies to restrict the damage to a round of two over. But his poor finish allowed McIlroy to take the tag of world's second best golfer.
However, this was the day when the 22-year-old all but said goodbye to the chance of lifting the Order of Merit title.
With a near £1 million lead, Luke Donald is almost certain to become the first player to win the money lists on both the European and PGA Tours in the same year.
"I'm disappointed, but looking forward to two weeks off," said McIlroy, who will holiday in the Maldives with his girlfriend, No 1 tennis player Caroline Wozniacki. "This is the end of a six-week run on the road and I'm not even going to take my clubs with me."
Also looking forward to a rest is Paul Casey. The Englishman showed something resembling his old form to finish in third. Casey will not play for three weeks and believes a long-standing foot injury will heal by the time he returns.