KAPALUA, Hawaii — Xander Schauffele never had a better round or a more peculiar ending.
After holing out for two eagles, and closing with four birdies over his last five holes for an 11-under-par 62 got him to 23-under, he chose to wait inside the scoring trailer to see if it would be enough to beat Gary Woodland in the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Sunday.
The trailer was just behind the grandstands on the 18th hole. The television had a 10-second delay. He heard sighs. He heard radio traffic. About the time he figured out that he won, he saw Woodland’s birdie putt to force a playoff slide by on the right.
“So it was a bit strange,” he said, “but the day was awesome.”
Schauffele took another step toward joining the young elite in golf with his second victory this season, and fourth in the past 18 months. The third-year PGA Tour player moved to No. 6 in the world.
“This is the stuff you dream about,” Schauffele said, “but to actually pull it off, it feels awesome. I could see myself doing it, but it’s hard to believe just sitting here and talking about it.”
He started with a bogey and figured he had nothing to lose. Before long, he was in position to win. He ran off three straight birdies. He chipped in from the front of the green on the par-5 ninth for eagle. He holed a wedge from 107 yards for another eagle on No. 12. He took his first lead with back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th holes, both times coming close to chipping in for more eagles.
Tied with Woodland, who closed with a 68, Schauffele finished birdie-birdie to tie the course record at Kapalua held by four other players.
“It was a crazy day,” Schauffele said. “I knew it was going to be a birdie fest at the end. We kept our head down and made a run for it.”
Doug Ferguson is an Associated Press writer.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Xander-Schauffele-wins-Tournament-of-Champions-13513100.php.