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Schauffele completes dazzling PGA Tour win

American Xander Schauffele has cemented his status as a star to watch in a course record-equalling final round to win the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

Schauffele completes dazzling PGA Tour win

American Xander Schauffele has cemented his status as a star to watch in a course record-equalling final round to win the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

MARC LEISHMAN of Australia plays a shot during the final round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Plantation Course in Lahaina, Hawaii.
MARC LEISHMAN of Australia plays a shot during the final round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Plantation Course in Lahaina, Hawaii. Picture:Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Tournament of Champions winner Xander Schauffele still considers himself an underdog despite a stunning come-from-behind victory in Hawaii.

The young American cemented his status as one of golf's stars to watch during a course record-equalling 11-under-par 62 and, at 23 under, he earned a one-shot win from overnight leader Gary Woodland (68).


Former champion Justin Thomas was outright third at 18 under courtesy of a 65.

Schauffele started Sunday at the winners-only event on Maui five shots behind Woodland.

His deficit increased to six when he bogeyed the first hole at Kapalua's Plantation course.

Yet by the time he reached the par-5 18th green, Schauffele faced an 11-foot putt for a third eagle of the day and the course record.

He missed it but his birdie was enough to earn a fourth PGA Tour victory and a rise to No.6 in the world rankings.

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 winner.

"Some great rounds have been started by a bogey so I figured 'why not do it'?" Schauffele said.

Turning professional less than four years ago, he has bagged four PGA Tour victories during the past 18 months.

Standing at 178cm and weighing just 79kgs, big-hitting Schauffele averaged 304.9 yards last year in driving distance - which ranked in the top 30 on the PGA Tour.

But the Californian refuses to class himself as one of golf's big guns just yet - at least until he wins a major championship.

"I still feel like an underdog," Schauffele said.

"Until you're world No.1, you're chasing. Guys like (major winners) Justin (Thomas) and Brooks (Koepka) keep putting that flag way out there for me to chase but I feel like I'm doing that.

"(This win) is a stepping stone in the right direction but the end goal is to (win) wire-to-wire and obviously a major would be nice."

Woodland started the day with a three-shot lead but missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th which would have forced a playoff.

Australia's Marc Leishman fell from final-round contention with a 71 to finish tied fourth with defending champion Dustin Johnson (67) and Rory McIlroy (72), while countryman Day roared home with a 66 to finish 13th in the 33-man field.

The Tournament of Champions is a $A9.3 million event for winners on the PGA Tour from the previous year and features no 36-hole cut.

AAP


AAP




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