Maui, Hawaii – It took a course record tying 62 to get it done at the PGA Tour’s season opening event at Kapalua, and it was Xander Schauffele who pulled it off to edge out 54 hole leader Gary Woodland by a single stroke at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Woodland started out the day with a three stroke cushion over Rory McIlroy, but it was Schauffele who stole the show on the par 73 Plantation Course. An 11 under par performance (23 under par – 269 total) that was as impressive as it sounds.
Xander Schauffele started the final round five back, and after an opening bogey, winning seemed highly unlikely. Things changed quickly from there, Schauffele ran off three straight birdies and pitched in for eagle at the 9th, then he holed out from 107 yards on the 12th. He stayed hot coming in, making birdies on the 14th, 15th, 17th and 18th to tie four other players who had previously shot 62 (on Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw’s first ever design endeavor). 54 hole leader Gary Woodland stood just short of the 18th green only needing to get up & down to force a playoff, but his chip came up about 12 feet short. When his putt to tie broke away from the cup on the low side, it was over. Despite his final round 68, and being the only player in the field to shoot all four rounds in the 60’s, Woodland was a stroke short. “This one will sting,” Woodland said.
For Schauffele it was an epic round, and his fourth PGA Tour win of his career. He now leads the Fedex Cup standings and afterward, he realized what it all meant. “It means I get to come back, which is even better.”
Defending Champion Justin Thomas finished third at 18 under par.