Xander Schauffele wins Travelers Championship after 18th-hole collapse from Sahith Theegala

By Sports Desk June 26, 2022

Xander Schauffele was the beneficiary of an 18th-hole double-bogey from leader Sahith Theegala, going on to win the Travelers Championship by two strokes with a birdie at the last.

Schauffele finished the tournament at 19 under with rounds of 63, 63, 67 and finally a 68 on Sunday as wind picked up and the scoring conditions worsened.

The win is the sixth of his PGA Tour career and his first singles win since January 2019, also collecting the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in a team format with Patrick Cantlay in April of this season.

It was Theegala controlling the final stages after he moved to 19 under and the outright lead with birdies at 13, 15 and 17 down the stretch, but after finding the fairway bunker on 18, he muffed his first attempt to get out, requiring another two shots to get to the green, before his bogey putt lipped out.

It meant Schauffele only needed par to claim the championship, and he went one better, finishing in style with a perfect drive, approach and putt for birdie.

Speaking on the 18th green after his winning putt, he said it felt incredible to convert a 54-hole lead for the first time in his career.

"It's incredible," Schauffele said. "I was looking at birdie just to get into a play-off and saw there was a bit of a hiccup with Sahith when I was standing on the tee.

"I knew I had to hit that fairway and hit it anywhere on the green to make par."

Theegala finished tied for second at 17 under along with J.T. Poston, who was one of three players to shoot 64 or better on Sunday (also Chesson Hadley and Scott Stallings).

In outright fourth was Michael Thorbjornsen following a week he will never forget, finishing at 15 under after being the only amateur to make the cut, closing his week with rounds of 65, 66 and 66 to make a statement about his future on the PGA Tour.

Hadley held outright fifth place at 14 under, going bogey-free with four birdies and an eagle for his 64, while Keith Mitchell and Kevin Kisner shared sixth place at 12 under, with Kisner carding a disappointing 71 on Sunday to take himself out of contention.

The round of the day came from Stallings, who went bogey-free with seven birdies for his 63, rounding out the top 10 in a tie for eighth along with Brian Harman, Chez Reavie, William McGirt and Nick Hardy.

A star-studded group finished tied for 13th at 10 under, featuring world number one Scottie Scheffler, number six Cantlay and fellow top-20 American Tony Finau. It was tough work for the stars, with an even par 70 for Scheffler on Sunday, while Cantlay entered the day one stroke off the lead and carded a 76.

Rory McIlroy and recent winner Lee Kyoung-hoon were in the group that completed out the top 20.

Related items

  • Open champion Smith out of BMW Championship ahead of FedEx Cup finale Open champion Smith out of BMW Championship ahead of FedEx Cup finale

    Cameron Smith has withdrawn from this week's BMW Championship, the penultimate event of the 2021-22 PGA Tour season, amid reports he is set to defect to LIV Golf.

    The Australian, who claimed his first major at The Open Championship last month at St Andrew's, has pulled out citing discomfort in his hip.

    It means Smith, currently number three in the FedEx Cup rankings, will miss out on the final event before the season-concluding Tour Championship at East Lake.

    "Unfortunately, Cam will be unable to compete in the BMW Championship this week in Wilmington," agent Bud Martin said. "He has been dealing with some on-and-off hip discomfort for several months and thought it best to rest this week in his pursuit of the FedExCup."

    The Brisbane native struggled last week at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, where he was handed a two-stroke penalty for playing from the wrong place and, having challenged for the lead at one stage, finished tied for 13th.

    Now, he will likely drop further away from the chance to dethrone Scottie Scheffler, particularly if the rumblings about a switch to the breakaway LIV Golf series prove well-founded.

  • New PGA Tour winner Will Zalatoris took inspiration from Steph Curry, receives Adam Sandler praise New PGA Tour winner Will Zalatoris took inspiration from Steph Curry, receives Adam Sandler praise

    Will Zalatoris took inspiration from Steph Curry and received congratulations from movie star Adam Sandler after getting the monkey off his back with a memorable first PGA Tour triumph.

    Having made a terrific clutch par at the final hole, Zalatoris defeated Sepp Straka in an eventful play-off to win the FedEx St. Jude Championship on Sunday.

    After sinking his left-to-right putt from 10 feet at his 72nd hole, Zalatoris yelled "what are they gonna say now?" in a seeming reference to those who have questioned whether he has a strong enough putting game to win the big tournaments.

    Zalatoris, who grew up in the Bay Area and later moved to Dallas, said it was an acknowledgement to Golden State Warriors star Curry, a big golf fan himself, who had uttered the same words when his team won the NBA title.

    "I did say that," said Zalatoris.

    "Yeah, you know, I'm a big Warriors fan and obviously Steph, he's a Cal Club guy, he's a pretty big inspiration obviously. I follow the Warriors like crazy and when he said that, it kind of related to kind of my journey so far.

    "So being that close and then kind of being written off here and there and then obviously finally pulling off, it was – I actually can't believe I said that actually."

    Zalatoris had been in danger of becoming golf's nearly man having lost play-offs at the Farmers Insurance Open and US PGA Championship, and tied for second at the U.S. Open.

    "Yeah, it's kind of hard to say 'about time' when it's your second year on Tour, but about time," he added.

    Zalatoris' win was made all the more impressive by the fact he had gone through the upheaval of changing caddies.

    He opted to part with Ryan Goble midway through last week's Wyndham Championship, explaining how he did not want the stress of professional golf to put a strain on their friendship.

    In his place came the experienced Joel Stock, who Zalatoris said had helped keep him in the moment.

    "We tried to communicate as much as we possibly could Monday through Wednesday to make this adjustment as easy as possible," he said, 

    "But you never know what it's going to be like until you're in the heat of the moment. Joel was really playing more sports psychologist today. He was awesome. He was ripping dad jokes the entire day to try to keep it loose, and they're terrible but it gave us some pretty good laughs and kept it light.

    "When the moment needed to be serious he told me to focus on my breathing. He did an amazing job."

    And after his special win, Zalatoris earned recognition from Sandler, a man who has previously interacted with the 25-year-old.

    It was noted how Zalatoris bears a resemblance to the caddy for Sandler's 'Happy Gilmore' character.

    Posting on Twitter, Sandler wrote: " Congrats Will! I’m happy for you! Happy’s happy for you! Enjoy it all!"

  • Will Zalatoris wins first career PGA Tour event after thrilling three-hole playoff Will Zalatoris wins first career PGA Tour event after thrilling three-hole playoff

    Will Zalatoris held his nerve for a clutch par putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, setting up a dramatic three-hole showdown where he defeated Sepp Straka to claim his first career PGA Tour win.

    Straka came into Sunday's final round at 12 under – one stroke off leader J.J. Spaun – while Zalatoris was one shot further back at 11 under with Cameron Smith. When Spaun imploded, going on to shoot Sunday's worst round with a 78, and Smith was handed a two-stroke penalty prior to his round for an illegal drop earlier in the tournament, the field fell away and left just Straka and Zalatoris at the top.

    Zalatoris continued to shed his reputation as a poor putter, and he did so in the biggest moments, draining a must-make 10-footer on the last hole to finish his tournament at 15 under, where he and Straka were three strokes clear of the pack – and the playoff was anything but boring.

    On the first playoff hole – the 18th, which was playing as the toughest hole on the course – both players reached the green in regulation, and while neither were in true birdie range, Zalatoris had a significantly longer distance to cover. But he showed why he was ranked number one for lag putting this week and was able to tap-in from a foot to head to the second hole.

    Replaying the 18th, Zalatoris' tee shot hit the cart path, seemingly handing Straka the tournament, but then Straka put his tee shot so close to the water's edge that he opted to take the penalty instead of trying to hack one out with a foot in the water.

    Straka pulled off what would usually be a title-winning approach shot, taking an aggressive line and landing six feet from the hole, but due to the penalty stroke it allowed Zalatoris to chip back out into the fairway and bring his approach to just over 10 feet, where he would sink another incredibly gutsy putt to extend things to a third playoff hole.

    After losing two playoffs this season, Zalatoris would have felt the trophy slipping out of his hands when his tee shot on the par-three 11th hole found the rock wall on the fringe of the water. He was not in the water, but the shot was unplayable, meaning a par would give Straka the win – and then Straka landed in the water.

    The Austrian's next shot sailed over the green into the bunker, while Zalatoris' second try at his approach was perfect, giving himself another seven-footer for the win, and he made no mistakes.

    With the win, Zalatoris avoided becoming the player with the most prize money in a season without a victory, raising his season earnings to over $9million in the process with his $2.7m winner's cheque.

    American duo Lucas Glover and Brian Harman finished tied for third at 12 under, while Spain's Jon Rahm, England's Matt Fitzpatrick and Australia's Adam Scott were part of the seven-man group tied for fifth at 11 under.

    After his two-stroke penalty, Cameron Smith finished at nine under with rising star Joo-hyung 'Tom' Kim, with Viktor Hovland at eight under, and Wyndham Clark snuck into the next round of the playoffs as his seven under finish moved him up to exactly 70th in the FedEx Cup standings.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.