FINAL ROUND LEADERBOARD: (GB & Ire unless stated)
-15 L Wen-tang* (Tai), R McIlroy, F Molinari (Ita) -13 P Larrazabal (Spa), C Plaphol (Tha) -12 D Gleeson (Aus), B Langer (Ger), I Steel (Mal), R Sterne (RSA), O Wilson Selected others: -11 O Fisher, G McDowell -10 C Montgomerie *wins after play-off
McIlroy failed to make the cut in the Hong Kong Open last year
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy was pipped to the Hong Kong Open title by Lin Wen-tang from Taipei after a thrilling three-way play-off.
Lin failed to sink a birdie putt at the last, but won after seeing off Francesco Molinari and then McIlroy over two extra holes.
The Italian could only par the first of them, while 19-year-old McIlroy and Lin both birdied the par-four 18th.
McIlroy's par at the second allowed Lin to seal his first European Tour title.
"It was not meant to be but it still has been a great week for me," said McIlroy, who climbed to a career-high 50th in the world rankings. "I couldn't have done much more.
"As long as I can keep putting myself in these positions and feeling the nerves and the adrenaline, I'll know I'm doing things right."
Lin appeared to have blown his chances when he pulled a drive into the rough on the first play-off hole.
However, he hit a shot through a tiny gap in the tress to land within six feet of the pin before sinking the birdie putt that forced a second play-off hole with McIlroy.
There, on the 18th again, it was McIlroy's turn to find the rough while Lin found the fairway before chipping to within inches of the cup to set up the victory - the first Asian in a decade to win the tournament.
"I'm still smiling," he said. "This is my first European Tour win and my feelings cannot be described.
"With this win I can re-assure myself that what I am doing is right."
Lin, McIlroy and Molinari had finished level on 15-under-par after overnight leader Oliver Wilson again failed to live up to his promise as he faded on the back nine.
The 28-year-old Englishman is yet to win on the Tour, but has finished second on eight occasions, and he started strongly enough with a birdie at the first hole.
However, his putting let him down as he notched up 10 pars and several late birdies to finish joint sixth on 12 under.
He was joined by German veteran Bernard Langer who failed to maintain his good early form, while Thailand's Chawalit Plaphol and Spain's Pablo Larrazabal finished at 13 under.
Brits Oliver Fisher and Graeme McDowell were a shot further behind Wilson on 11 under, while Colin Montgomerie carded a round of 69 to end 10 under.