Wednesday, 26 June, 2019

Xander Schauffele smashes course record to win Tournament of Champions

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Shannon Reynolds | 09 January, 2019, 16:24

Sunday was no different. He set tournament marks with the lowest closing round by a victor and the largest 18-hole comeback (five shots).

McIlroy's challenge ended when he found thick grass off the 14th tee on his way to a bogey, while Woodland moved back alongside Schauffele with a two-putt birdie at the par-five next.

All four of his victories have been achieved playing the final round from behind. "I could see myself doing it, but it's hard to believe just sitting here and talking about it". His chip-in for eagle at the ninth boosted him into second place, just one shot back.

"The evolution of our streaming partnership with Twitter over the past three years has led to extraordinary feedback from our fans globally", said Rick Anderson, chief media officer for the PGA Tour.

Asked if he felt that the work he'd put in on his game over the winter could pay off for the rest of the year, the 29-year-old added: "I think so".

"He knows he could kick my (tail) if he wanted to", Schauffele said.

"All of my wins have been from behind. This was in sort of dramatic fashion and it turned into a birdie fest coming down the stretch", said Schauffele as he savoured a fourth PGA Topur triumph and one that lifted him to world No 6.

"I didn't do much leaderboard watching", said Schauffele, who started the best round of his career with a bogey.

Brooks Koepka shot 73 and was tied for 29th. "I just have to go about my business". "The next step is to go wire-to-wire, have a lead and maintain it".

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Starting out four shots behind third-round leader Gary Woodland, the Australian came home with a largely incident-free 71 to finish 15-under par overall. It's the seventh time that same fate has awaited Woodland, and he admitted it wasn't an easy pill to swallow.

Rory McIlroy had to settle for 4th place in the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii at the weekend.

Tied with Woodland over the closing holes, Schauffele finished birdie-birdie for a 61 that tied the course record at Kapalua held by four other players.

Schauffele hammered a 5-wood onto the par-5 18th green to 12 feet, narrowly missing his third eagle of the final round. "I didn't press at all, I was very patient", McIlroy told reporters.

"I just saw somebody's face in the background". Just keep putting myself in these positions.

Given a chance to watch on TV, Schauffele figured there would be a camera on him.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson, who shot 74 and slipped seven strokes behind the lead, said he did not blame a marshal for his role in incurring a two-stroke penalty for hitting the wrong ball.

Schauffele took another step toward joining the young elite in golf with his second victory this season, and fourth in the last 18 months. Find out what else was in his winning bag at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

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