PGA Championship: Golf’s ‘nearly man’ Xander Schauffele in first major win

Schauffele outdueled Bryson DeChambeau to win the PGA Championship, capturing it with the lowest score in major history.

Xander Schauffele
Xander Schauffele holds The Wanamaker Trophy after winning the PGA Championship [Adam Cairns/USA Today Sports]

Xander Schauffele finally added some elusive silverware to his Olympic gold, shedding the title of golf’s nearly man with a dramatic birdie on the final hole to win the PGA Championship and hoist the massive Wanamaker Trophy.

A week after squandering a two-shot lead in the final round at the Wells Fargo, Schauffele took the same advantage onto the back nine at the Valhalla Golf Club but this time would not fold, holding his nerve and claiming his maiden major title with a pressure-packed six-foot putt.

“I was pretty nervous,” admitted Schauffele after the win on Sunday.

“I kept reading it, kept kind of panning. I thought, oh, my gosh, this is not what I want for a winning putt.

“I ended up playing it straight. Just so much relief.

“I don’t really remember it lipping in, I just heard everyone roaring and I just looked up to the sky in relief.”

That birdie earned Schauffele a one-shot decision over Bryson DeChambeau and his first win since the 2022 Scottish Open.

With an Olympic title, seven PGA Tour victories and ranked number three in the world, Schauffele has long been rated among golf’s very best.

But despite his immense talent the 30-year-old had, until Sunday, been unable to close the deal at the majors, posting 12 top-10 results, including runner-up finishes at the Masters and British Open.

“I’ve become very patient not knocking off any wins in the last couple years,” said Schauffele. “The people closest to me know how stubborn I can be.

“This is awesome. It’s super sweet.

“But when I break it down, I’m really proud of how I handled certain moments on the course today, different from the past.”

And that includes the recent past.

After going on to lose to Rory McIlroy by five shots at the Wells Fargo this month, Schauffele played like a man on a mission in Louisville, posting a wire-to-wire win that began with an opening round 62 that equalled the lowest score ever at a major.

With the win, Schauffele will move up to number two in the world rankings but said the climb to the summit goes on.

“All of us are climbing this massive mountain,” said Schauffele.

“At the top of the mountain is Scottie Scheffler. I won this today, but I’m still not that close to Scottie Scheffler in the big scheme of things.

“I got one good hook up there in the mountain up on that cliff, and I’m still climbing.”

Source: News Agencies