Saturday , June 22 2024

PGA Championship: Xander Schauffele says Scottie Scheffler’s still the man to beat despite first major win at Valhalla | Golf News

Xander Schauffele said that his repeated close-calls in majors added “fuel to my fire” as he finally claimed a maiden victory at the PGA Championship in Valhalla on Sunday.

Schauffele had 12 top-10 finishes in majors before his triumph this week, where he equalled the record low round in men’s major golf (62) on day one and set a new record 72-hole low score of 21-under-par to win the tournament.

The 30-year-old American carded a six-under 65 on the final day to hold off a spirited challenge from Bryson DeChambeau and a star-studded leaderboard to claim a one-shot victory.

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Xander Schauffele’s one-shot victory moves him above Rory McIlroy into world No 2

“It feels amazing,” Schauffele told reporters after his win.

“Winning, I said it earlier, is a result. 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.”

‘I didn’t want Bryson play-off’ | ‘Scheffler still the one we’re chasing’

Schauffele needed a birdie on the 18th hole to win the tournament and avoid the potential for a three-hole play-off against clubhouse leader DeChambeau on 20 under.

“I was pretty nervous,” Schauffele added. “I don’t really remember it [his birdie putt] lipping in, I just heard everyone roaring and I looked up to the sky in relief.

“I really did not want to go into a play-off with Bryson. Going up 18 with his length, it’s not something that I was going to have a whole lot of fun with.

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Bryson DeChambeau shot a seven-under-par 64 during the final round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla.

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“I was able to capture that moment there… I just kept telling myself I need to earn this, earn this and be in the moment, and I was able to do that.”

Even with his win, Schauffele doesn’t think much will change in terms of his outlook with regards to his status on tour.

Despite a ‘hectic’ week for world No 1 Scottie Scheffler, which saw him arrested hours before his second round on Friday, Schauffele is left in no doubt as to who he, and the rest of golf are chasing.

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A look back at the highs and lows of world number one Scottie Scheffler’s second round at the PGA Championship at Valhalla.

“All of us are climbing this massive mountain and at the top of the mountain is Scottie Scheffler,” he said. “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. I might have a beer up there on that side of the hill there and enjoy this, but it’s not that hard to chase when someone is so far ahead of you.”

Morikawa: Schauffele one of the best in the world

DeChambeau, despite being edged out for the win, and Collin Morikawa – in the final pairing, finishing tied-fourth – were both full of praise for the popular Schauffele after clinching his maiden major triumph.

“My first emotions, I’m proud of Xander for finally getting the job done,” DeChambeau told reporters. “He’s an amazing golfer and a well-deserved major champion now.

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“He’s played well for a long, long time. I played against him as a junior. He’s just a great human being, but an unbelievable golfer, and it showed this week. I’m super happy for him.”

He added: “On my side of the coin, it’s disappointing, but I played well.

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Bryson DeChambeau birdied the final hole to brielfy tie Xander Schauffele at the top of the leaderboard.

“I shot 20-under par in a major championship… it’s one that gives me a lot of momentum for the rest of the majors. I said today it was ‘closing time’, but it will be hopefully over the next couple of majors.”

Morikawa held a share of the lead with Schauffele heading into the final round, before a level-par 71 saw his challenge fade away. He said of the new PGA champion: “It’s awesome. I’m so happy for him.

“He’s one of the best players in the world and he’s obviously been close before. Today was exactly all that put into one.

“He knew what he had to make on 18, and that’s what great players do.”

‘A great champion – one of the good guys’

Xander Schauffele holds the Wanamaker trophy after winning the PGA Championship
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Xander Schauffele holds the Wanamaker trophy aloft after winning the PGA Championship

Sky Sports’ Rich Beem: “Schauffele has been in contention so many times and has not got the win, but this has put to rest all of that anguish, all of that heartache.

“I loved the reaction from him, smiles all around – the relief. What a great champion – he’s one of the good guys, you love to see it. From the opening bell, a round of 62, he was the man to beat. And he finally closes it out to get his first major championship win.”

Sky Sports’ Dame Laura Davies: “Schauffele’s ball-striking this week has been absolutely exceptional.

“We go on about [world No 1] Scottie Scheffler and the brilliance of him, but Schauffele has more than matched him this week. He will enjoy the celebrations, it will be going on all night. What a sensational win.”

What’s next?

The PGA Tour heads to Colonial Country Club next for the Charles Schwab Challenge, where Emiliano Grillo returns as defending champion. Early coverage begins on Thursday from 5pm on Sky Sports Golf, ahead of full coverage from Texas at 9pm.

The next men’s major is the US Open, which is held at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in North Carolina and live from June 13-16 on Sky Sports. Stream the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, majors and more with NOW.

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