Schauffele wins PGA Championship in record fashion as Lowry comes up shy

Ronan MacNamara

Xander Schauffele (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Xander Schauffele went from the nearly man to a major champion and he did it in sumptuous style as a birdie on the 72nd hole gave him a one shot victory and a record setting score at the PGA Championship.

Schauffele’s score of 21-under is the lowest ever recorded in a major and a final round 65 saw him hold off a tremendous challenge from Bryson DeChambeau at Valhalla.

Schauffele was without a win in two years and while his wait for a PGA Tour win continued with each passing week the more doubts were raised over his mentality.

The 30-year-old held the lead throughout the championship and he overcame two stern tests of character with back-to-back birdies after dropping a shot on the par-5 10th, then a terrific up and down from short of the 18th green under pressure after DeChambeau had laid the gauntlet down with a closing birdie for a 64 to tie the scores at -20.

Schauffele had hit a poor tee shot on the 18th but a good recovery left him pin high and he chipped to four feet and while his putt thought about lipping out, it dropped and Schauffele won the Wanamaker Trophy.

“I was actually kind of emotional after the putt lipped in. It’s been a while since I’ve won, and I really just — I kept saying it all week, I just need to stay in my lane. Man, was it hard to stay in my lane today, but I tried all day to just keep focus on what I’m trying to do and keep every hole ahead of me. Had some weird kind of breaks coming into the house, but it’s all good now.”

Viktor Hovland claimed third place after a final round 66 despite a three-putt bogey on the last while Belgium’s Thomas Detry earned his highest ever major finish with a share of 4th place on fifteen-under with the luckless Collin Morikawa who carded sixteen pars, a birdie and a bogey.

As others began to drop off Schauffele to his credit held firm. Birdies on the first and fourth were nerve settlers and birdies on seven and nine saw him turn in 31 in what looked like an unflappable performance.

A sloppy bogey on 10 threatened to unleash the ghosts of the Wells Fargo Championship a week ago, but Schauffele showed he had the mettle with a blistering response on 11 and 12 and he never looked like collapsing after that in a back nine that exuded patience.

Schauffele started the week in style with his second major championship round of 62 and he ended it in a similar fashion with that closing birdie to be the last man standing.

“I think I’d probably be a little bit less of a patient person if that putt didn’t lip in, but I really didn’t want to go into a playoff against Bryson. I’m assuming we probably would have played 18. It would have been a lot of work. I just told myself, this is my opportunity, and just capture it,” said Schauffele.

Shane Lowry had the wind taken out of his sails around the turn as he settled for a share of sixth place on fourteen-under with Justin Rose after a closing 70.

Lowry started brightly with two early birdies on the 2nd and 3rd to move to within one shot of the lead but a clumsy three-putt bogey on the 8th rather ended his challenge.

A third birdie came on 14 but he let another shot slip on 16 but it was still a bright week for the Offaly man who looked back to his best on Saturday when he shot a blistering 62.

Rory McIlroy’s challenge for a fifth major title at the site of his fourth in 2014 faded on the back nine in round three and despite finding the water twice in three holes on Sunday he carded a final round of 67 to share twelfth place on twelve-under.

“I’m feeling good about that. I’ve been on a big stretch of golf here. I think this was my sixth event in seven weeks. I’ve got a week off and then I’m playing another four in a row. I’m feeling good about my game. I feel like things are sort of clicking more, especially after the win in New Orleans. Obviously played well last week in Charlotte. Have a week here to sort of reset and try to get going again.”

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