Schauffele shoots 61 to win at Kapalua

Marcus Newton
January 10, 2019

Xander Schauffele never had a better round or a more peculiar ending. He set tournament marks with the lowest closing round by a victor and the largest 18-hole comeback (five shots). The television had a 10-second delay. Woodland had five birdies in his 68 for 270.

"So it was a bit odd", he said.

Schauffele took another step toward joining the young elite in golf with his second victory this season, and fourth in the last 18 months.

Perennially ranked as one of the PGA Tour's best putters, Day uncharacteristically missed two putts inside two feet. He moved to No. 6 in the world.

"This is the stuff you sort of dream about", Schauffele said after shooting a course record tying 62 to win. "But to actually pull it off, it feels awesome".

"It's just something I am going to have to persist with, keep putting myself in these situations", he said on Sunday.

Woodland - who was also chasing a 4th PGA Tour title - did little wrong, but he was unable to hold off the challenge of Schauffele. Kapalua presented the biggest deficit at five shots. He holed a 107-yard wedge for eagle at No. 12.

He birdies the 14th to move to 5 under on the round and 14 under overall.

"It was a insane day", Schauffele said. "We kept our head down and tried to run for it". His only mistake on Saturday was coming up just short of the green on No. 12 and missing a 5-foot par putt. It stayed out to the right, he hit a pitch-and-run to 10 feet and missed the putt. "That's been tough", Woodland said. The only blemish on Woodland's scorecard came on the par-4 12th hole where he finished with a bogey.

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"It was frustrating early", Woodland said. But Woodland made his second birdie of the day at the ninth to push the margin back to two, and gave himself more breathing room with a 30-foot birdie putt at the par-three 11th.

Thomas closed with a 65 to finish alone in third. "I played great", Woodland told the Golf Channel. But he found no consolation in losing to a guy who shot 62 in the tougher of the two wind directions on the west end of Maui. "My goal today was to birdie the par-fives and make a couple more and see if that was enough". I had killed the par 5s all week this week, which is what you've got to do out here.

"You kind of look around and realize you have nothing to lose", Schauffele said, who is now the first multiple victor of the 2018-19 season. I want my driving accuracy to get up into the 60 percent number.

"I wish I had a shot that comfortable, say, at the Tour Championship previous year, something where you can just put it in play and get it on the fairway".

Brooks Koepka closed with a 69 to finish 24th, meaning Justin Rose returns to No. 1 in the world.

Schauffele joins four other golfers, including Australia's Jason Day, to have shot 62 at Kapalua, although his is the lowest final round by a victor.

Woodland, 34 qualified for the event in capturing the Phoenix Open and his third PGA Tour success while the scholars of the pro game will recall the Kansas-born Woodland led the opening two rounds of last year's PGA Championship before eventually securing a share of 6th place.

Xander Schauffele produced a brilliant fightback to snatch a dramatic victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, as Rory McIlroy's hopes faded on the final day.

But Woodland is equally as long from the tee and the pair are set for a showdown with the 7,500-yard Plantation course offering plenty of birdie opportunities.

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