Xander Schauffele hails ‘awesome’ birdie that clinched first major title

pa ready, xander schauffele, bryson dechambeau, viktor hovland, phil casey, louisville, xander schauffele hails ‘awesome’ birdie that clinched first major title

Xander Schauffele holds the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the US PGA Championship at Valhalla (Jon Cherry/AP) (AP)

Xander Schauffele hailed his “hectic and awesome” winning birdie after securing his maiden major title in the US PGA Championship.

Schauffele carded a final round of 65 at Valhalla to hold off the challenges of Bryson DeChambeau and Viktor Hovland in record-breaking fashion.

The Olympic champion held his nerve to birdie the 72nd hole and finish a shot ahead of DeChambeau on 21 under par, the lowest score in relation to par in major championship history.

“I was actually kind of emotional after the putt lipped in,” Schauffele said. “It’s been a while since I’ve won and I kept saying it all week, I just need to stay in my lane.

“Man, was it hard to stay in my lane today, but I tried all day to just keep focus on what I’m trying to do and keep every hole ahead of me. Had some weird kind of breaks coming into the house, but it’s all good now.”

He continued: “I really didn’t want to go into a play-off against Bryson. It would have been a lot of work. I just told myself, this is my opportunity, just capture it.

“I am very satisfied. I’m tired. Once I sat down in scoring, I felt a little bit more tired. But just a whirlwind of emotions.

“I knew I had to birdie the last hole, looking up at the board. It was a hectic birdie, as well, but it was awesome. I kept telling myself, I need to earn this, I need to prove this to myself and this is my time.”

DeChambeau was gracious in defeat, acknowledging the lucky break he had on the 16th when a pulled drive bounced back on to the fairway – “I said thank you to the tree” he joked – and praising Schauffele’s nerveless finish.

He's an amazing golfer and well-deserved major champion now

Bryson DeChambeau pays tribute to Xander Schauffele

“First emotions, I’m proud of Xander for finally getting the job done,” DeChambeau said.

“I mean, he’s an amazing golfer and well-deserved major champion now. He’s played well for a long, long time. Played against him as a junior.

“Not only he’s just a great human being, but an unbelievable golfer, and it shows this week. Super happy for him.”

He continued: “On my side of the coin, disappointing, but, whatever. I played well. Didn’t strike it my best all week. Felt like I had my “B” game pretty much.

“My putting was A+, my wedging was A+, short game was A+, driving was like B.

“I shot 20 under par in a major championship. Proud of myself for the way I handled adversity. Definitely disappointing, but one that gives me a lot of momentum for the rest of the majors.

“I said today it was closing time, but it will be closing time hopefully over the next couple majors.”

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