Xander Schauffele wins PGA Championship for first major

Xander Schauffele wins PGA Championship for first major

ByMARK SCHLABACH

May 19, 2024, 8:09 PM

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- They can't call Xander Schauffele the best golfer in the world without a major championship victory any longer.

    The 30-year-old from San Diego captured his first major victory Sunday by outlasting LIV Golf League captain Bryson DeChambeau and Norway's Viktor Hovland in the final round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.

    After starting the final round tied for the co-lead with two-time major winner Collin Morikawa, Schauffele silenced his critics who claimed he couldn't close out a big one by posting a 6-under 65 in the final round to finish with a 72-hole total of 21 under and defeat DeChambeau by 1 shot and Hovland by 3.

    Schauffele recorded the lowest 72-hole score to par and the lowest 72-hole scoring total (263) in a major championship.

    "I was actually kind of emotional after the putt lipped in," said Schauffele, whose last victory came at the Scottish Open in July 2022. "It's been a while since I've won. 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."

    Schauffele's first major victory came in his 28th appearance in a major and gave him his eighth PGA Tour win, snapping a 39-start winless streak on the tour.

    After DeChambeau tied Schauffele at 20 under with a birdie on his 72nd hole, Schauffele matched him in dramatic fashion -- becoming the first player since  Phil Mickelson in 2005 at Baltusrol to win the PGA Championship by one shot with a birdie on the last hole.

    On the par-5 18th, Schauffele's tee shot failed to fade and stopped short of a fairway bunker, leaving him in an awkward stance. With both feet in the sand and his ball 239 yards away from the hole, Schauffele ripped a long iron. His ball stopped about 35 yards short of the green.

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    Chipping up the hill, Schauffele hit his ball cleanly and left it 6 feet short of the hole. He calmly made the putt and threw both arms in the air when his ball fell in the cup.

    "I really didn't want to go into a playoff against Bryson," Schauffele said. "I'm assuming we probably would have played 18. It would have been a lot of work. I just told myself, this is my opportunity, and just capture it."

    Valhalla Golf Club, known for its thrilling finishes and low scores, delivered once again. Schauffele had a 1-stroke lead with two holes to play. Shortly after his tee shot on the par-4 17th hole bounced into a fairway bunker, DeChambeau barely rolled in an 11-foot birdie putt to tie Schauffele at 20 under.

    Schauffele's approach on 17th landed right of the green. He chipped to about 2 feet and made the par putt to maintain a share of the lead.

    DeChambeau, the 2020 U.S. Open winner, carded a bogey-free 7-under 64, his lowest round in a major, to finish second at 20 under.

    "I gave it my all. I put as much effort as I possibly could into it and I knew that my B-game would be enough," DeChambeau said. "It's just clearly somebody played incredibly well. Xander's well deserving of a major championship."

    Holvand, the reigning FedEx Cup champion, who had struggled with his swing this season until this week, also had a chance to tie by sinking a 10-footer. But Holvand missed the birdie try and a 3-footer coming back for his first bogey in 41 holes. He finished third at 18 under.

    Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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