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PGA Tour

WiretoWire: Xander Schauffele takes Travelers Championship, returns to winner's circle

XANDER SCHAUFFELE EARNS SIXTH PGA TOUR WIN AT TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSHIP The Travelers Championship seems to facilitate drama down the stretch on a yearly basis, and Sunday delivered once again at TPC River Highlands. Xander Schauffele led into the final round, seeking his first individual PGA TOUR victory since 2019. The reigning Olympic gold medalist led by three strokes early on the back nine but was caught and surpassed into the 72nd hole by TOUR rookie Sahith Theegala, seeking his first TOUR title. Theegala found a fairway bunker off the tee on the finishing hole, though, and left his second shot in the bunker en route to a devastating double bogey. Schauffele split the fairway and stuffed a wedge inside 4 feet for a closing birdie and two-stroke win over Theegala and J.T. Poston at 19-under total. With the victory, Schauffele moves from No. 20 to No. 8 on the FedExCup standings, 500 points accrued. It’s his sixth career TOUR title and second of the season; he won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April alongside good friend Patrick Cantlay, his playing partner Sunday in Connecticut. “It’s incredible,” remarked a beaming Schauffele after double fist-pumping on the 72nd green, the New England fans roaring in appreciation. EXCITING CHANGES COMING TO THE PGA TOUR The PGA TOUR will return to a calendar-year schedule in 2024, one of a series of changes announced Wednesday that also includes eight tournaments with greatly enhanced purses, revised field sizes for the FedExCup Playoffs and a reimagined fall including up to three no-cut, limited-field international events. Commissioner Jay Monahan announced the changes, made in conjunction with the Policy Board and Player Directors, in a press conference at the Travelers Championship. “While different than it’s been in the past, I think it’s going to be very exciting for fans and I think will create great energy in the fall,” said Monahan, who added that he expects the fall events to be “very consequential, very meaningful." Click here for full details, including which events will offer significantly increased purses. MAKING THE TRIP TO THE JOHN DEERE CLASSIC Lucas Glover returns to defend his title from 2021 with major champions, TOUR winners, and plenty of up-and-comers in the field looking to find the winner’s circle at the John Deere Classic. Daniel Berger is the top-ranked golfer in the field, with past PLAYERS Championship winners Jason Day and Webb Simpson teeing it up. Glover will look to become the first player to defend his title at the John Deere Classic since Steve Stricker a decade ago. Davis Riley is the highest-ranked golfer in this season’s FedExCup standings teeing it up. TPC Deere Run is a D.A. Weibring design which offers plenty of birdie opportunities but risk-reward scenarios as well. There are three spots up for grabs for those who have not already earned a spot at St. Andrews for the 150th Open Championship. Five of the last 10 winners of the John Deere Classic were first-timer TOUR winners. The winner will receive 500 FedExCup points. VIDEO OF THE WEEK MIC CHECK “I think it's not lost on me what PGA TOUR events can do for the communities that they're played in. I think that's not lost on the players that when they come and play PGA TOUR events they're helping to do something really good in the community and I think that's important.” - Two-time FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy reflected on the impact that the PGA TOUR has on the communities it plays in. BY THE NUMBERS 3 - Starts it took for Pierceson Coody to win his first event on the Korn Ferry Tour after claiming the Live and Work in Maine Open. 16 - Sir Nick Faldo, the six-time major champion and lead golf analyst for CBS, announced he will be retiring at the end of his 16th season covering the PGA TOUR for the network. 3 - Consecutive years a player has won the U.S. Senior Open in his first appearance after Padraig Harrington won on Sunday. The others were Steve Stricker (2019) and Jim Furyk (2021). There was no event in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. COMCAST BUSINESS TOUR TOP 10 The Comcast Business TOUR TOP 10 highlights and rewards the extraordinary level of play required to earn a spot in the TOP 10 at the conclusion of the FedExCup Regular Season as determined by the FedExCup standings. The competition recognizes and awards the most elite in golf.

 

27 Jun 2022


Xander Schauffele wins Travelers Championship in dramatic fashion

CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — Xander Schauffele won the Travelers Championship with a three-stroke swing on the final hole Sunday, hitting to 3 feet for birdie after rookie Sahith Theegala took two shots to get out of a bunker and made a double bogey in the group ahead. RELATED: What's in Schauffele's bag? A stroke ahead entering the day, Schauffele finished with a 2-under 68 at TPC River Highlands to beat Theegala and J.T. Poston by two strokes. The Olympic champion had a 19-under 261 total. “My mind was telling me to hit a good drive and then use your sand wedge or lob wedge in there and make birdie,” Schauffele said. “To sit there and watch what happened was a bit of a shock, obviously. I really had to try and focus on the task at hand.” Theegala shot a 67, and Poston had a 64. Schauffele won for the sixth time on the PGA TOUR and the second this season after teaming with Patrick Cantlay to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April. Theegala was lurking near the top of the leaderboard all day and grabbed a share of the lead on 15, driving the green on the par-4 hole and making a 4-foot birdie putt. He overtook Schauffele with an 11-footer for birdie on 17, pumping his fist. But the former Pepperdine star hit his tee shot on 18 left and into the front lip of a fairway bunker. He needed two tries to get out the bunker. “Somehow my body just, I just straight bladed it,” he said. “I had room there. I don’t know how it looked, but I had room there. Just didn’t think I would let myself blade it. But I guess the moment was — and then from there it’s, like, got to try and make 5 now.” His 12-foot bogey putt lipped out, and he fell to his knees in agony. “I did everything I thought I had to do and it just happened to be everything bad culminated on one hole,” he said. “I did so much good.” Theegala was trying to become just the second rookie to win this season, joining Chad Ramey, who won in the Dominican Republic. The 2020 Travelers was his first professional start, but he missed the cut. Schauffele, meanwhile was consistent, with two birdies and a bogey on the front before mirroring that score on the back. He had a chance to tie Theegala on the 17th, but missed a 27-footer. Amateur Michael Thorbjornsen, from nearby Wellesley, Massachusetts, was fourth at 15 under after a 66. The Stanford star was looking to become the first amateur to win on the PGA TOUR since Phil Mickelson it in 1991. He shot a 31 on the front nine, including an eagle on No. 6 after putting a 261-yard approach a foot from the hole. He finished with a 66. “I felt really good and comfortable out there, then near the end had a couple of hiccups, which happens sometimes," said Thorbjornsen, who added that he plans to return to college in the fall. "I don't think I was too nervous, just a couple of miss-executions." The previous best finish by an amateur at the Connecticut tournament came in 1966, when Tim Grant finished tied for sixth place at the nearby Wethersfield Country Club in what was then known as the Insurance City Open. Poston, who was the co-leader after shooting a first-round 62, started the day tied for seventh place, nine strokes back. He put up a bogey-free 64, finishing with his sixth birdie of the day. “I putted well, drove it well, hit my irons good,” he said Patrick Cantlay began the day just a stroke behind his good friend Schauffele. But last year’s FedExCup champion, who had a combined four bogeys in the first three rounds, shot five of them on the front nine on Sunday. He finished with a 76 and in a tie for 13th at 10 under. Luke List, who shot a 65 on Sunday to finish at 9-under had the shot of the day, opening his round with 119-yard approach on No. 1 that took a short bounce into the hole for an eagle. Rory McIlroy, who shot an opening-round 62, also finished at 9 under with a 67 on Sunday. This was his fourth straight tournament for the No. 2-ranked player in the world, who said he won't play again before the Open Championship at St. Andrews next month. Morgan Hoffmann, who is fighting facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, finished at 2 over in his third and final tournament of the year on a three-event medical exemption. The 32-year-old, who took several years off from the TOUR to focus on his health, shot a 71 Sunday, ending his morning with a birdie after hitting his approach at 18 less than 2 feet from the pin. Hoffman, a New Jersey native now living in Costa Rica, said he’s hoping to get a few sponsor’s exemptions this summer and is cherishing the golf while trying to inspire others by staying healthy. “I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing, cleansing monthly, eating nourishing food and working out hard and keep gaining muscle and in the meantime I’m building a wellness center (in Costa Rica) to help other people do the same,” he said.

 

26 Jun 2022


Winner's Bag: Xander Schauffele, Travelers Championship

Xander Schauffele won the 2022 Travelers Championship by two shots over J.T. Poston and Sahith Theegala for his sixth PGA TOUR victory. Here's a look inside his bag. Driver: Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond S (10.5 degrees @9.5 degrees) Shaft: Mitsubishi Kai'li White 70 TX 3-wood: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond (15 degrees @14) Shaft: Mitsubishi Kai'li White 70 TX Hybrid: Callaway Apex UW (21 degrees) Shaft: Mitsubishi Kai'li White 90 TX Irons: Callaway Apex TCB (4-PW) Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 Wedges: Callaway Jaws Raw (52), Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (56-10S @57), Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (60-06K@61) Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 Putter: Odyssey O-Works #7 CH Red Grip: SuperStroke Traxion 2.0 Tour (10 grams) Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X Grips: Golf Pride Z-Grip

 

26 Jun 2022


Xander Schauffele back to winning ways at Travelers Championship

CROMWELL, Conn. – Trust the process. It’s easy to say, harder to do. Xander Schauffele was acutely aware that he hadn’t won an individual PGA TOUR event since the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions, even if he’d captured a few – ahem – rather significant titles. And it was gnawing at him. RELATED: Final leaderboard | What's in Schauffele's bag? “I think subconsciously, or without myself even really knowing, I was getting a little impatient,” Schauffele said after carding a final-round 68 to win the Travelers Championship by two over Sahith Theegala (67) and J.T. Poston (64). “And this week I was just trying to be as aware – self-aware as possible to just stay as patient as possible.” It paid off in the sixth TOUR title for Schauffele, who moves to No. 8 in the FedExCup standings. Theegala took the lead outright with a birdie on 17, but double-bogeyed the last to open the door. Schauffele split the fairway on 18, and with his second victory of the season in the balance – after the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, a team event – he hit his approach shot to 3 feet for birdie, leaving no doubt. Doubt. Schauffele’s team – his father and coach, Stefan; his caddie, Austin Kaiser – saw the way it was eating at their man, perhaps even before he did. Stefan told him to stop tinkering with his swing. Kaiser reminded him of the Olympic gold medal he won last year, among other wins. Those weren’t nothing. “He was kind of searching for some winning formula that we know doesn’t really exist,” Kaiser said. “People don’t remember his gold medal, which was only a year ago, because it doesn’t count for a TOUR win. There were a lot of overlooked victories. I said, ‘You’re not in a dry spell. You won events.’ Yes, Zurich is a team event, but he played well enough to win. “It was just getting him to stay patient. Even today with this wind, it was about patience.” Schauffele, 28, felt his patience wearing especially thin after he missed a short birdie putt on 18 to fall a shot shy of the Scottie Scheffler/Patrick Cantlay playoff at the WM Phoenix Open in February. “It was probably around (The Genesis Invitational at) Riviera,” Kaiser said. “He was kind of stressing. ‘We need to play better. We need to get a win.’ You could tell he was feeling a burden on his shoulders, and I just told him, ‘Dude, you’re a summer soldier. You play so well in the summer.’ I’m like, ‘Just keep hitting it like you are. Everything is going to click.’” It did click in New Orleans, Schauffele’s first TOUR win since the 2019 Sentry, breaking a streak of eight runner-up finishes without a victory. That he’d finally won again was great; the only caveat was that he’d done so with a partner, Cantlay. Schauffele kept at it, carding a final-round 61 for a T5 at the AT&T Bryson Nelson. He finished T13 at the PGA Championship, T18 at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, and T14 at the U.S. Open. His team knew he was close; all they had to do was make sure he didn’t make any ill-advised changes as he rolled into TPC River Highlands. “His putting clicked this week,” Kaiser said. “He played amazing.” Schauffele was No. 4 in Strokes Gained: Putting, gaining nearly two shots on the field per day. And on a course rife with so much water and long grass that Rory McIlroy (67, T19) made a quadruple bogey, triple bogey and double bogey, Schauffele made nothing worse than bogey – and he made only three of those. He wasn’t even thrown when he misremembered his first-round tee time as 7:50 a.m. when it was in fact 7:35. “Austin was not very happy with me,” Schauffele said. “Considering the fact that he sat there for 45 minutes by himself on the putting green kind of looking like an idiot.” Not that either man was thrown for a loop; all Schauffele did was go out and hit 18 of 18 greens in regulation, prompting Kaiser to joke that perhaps they should cut down on their warm-up. “His ball-strike the first two rounds was the best I’ve ever seen it,” Kaiser said. “For him to win, he just needs to do everything solid; he doesn’t have to do anything immaculate. Only three bogeys is very good around here, and we preach bogey-avoidance.” Stefan Schauffele was not here this week; Xander’s dad was back home, and played golf himself on this day, with Xander’s mom, Chen Ping-Yi. Maya Schauffele, Xander’s wife, wasn’t here, either, but the winner noted that Sunday was their one-year anniversary. He finished up his media obligations and planned to fly back in time for a late celebration. “This is a big win for me mentally,” he said. “Just because I sort of had to check myself, you know what I mean? When you've been out here and things are going easy, you just expect to play well all the time. Sometimes it's good to take a step back.”

 

26 Jun 2022


Michael Thorbjornsen records best finish by amateur on TOUR since 2016

Last week, Michael Thorbjornsen hit the opening tee shot of the U.S. Open in his native Massachusetts. If that were the summer highlight for the rising Stanford junior, it would have sufficed. The 20-year-old wasn’t done, though. Not even close. Playing on a sponsor invitation at the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Connecticut, just 100 miles from his hometown of Wellesley, Massachusetts, he contended on Sunday in a bid to become the first amateur to win on TOUR since Phil Mickelson in 1991. RELATED: Five Things about Thorbjornsen Thorbjornsen nearly pulled it off. When he made a 20-foot birdie on the par-3 11th Sunday to go 6-under on the day, he had pulled within a stroke of leader Xander Schauffele. The fans roared. Historians began to contextualize where he might fit into the record books. The spry New Englander cooled off down the stretch en route to a 4-under 66 and 15-under total, but his eventual solo fourth-place finish marked the best showing by an amateur on TOUR since Lee McCoy’s solo fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship. (Braden Thornberry finished T4 at the 2017 FedEx St. Jude Classic.) Thorbjornsen was showered with adoration from the crowd at TPC River Highlands as he made his way up the 18th fairway Sunday, before two-putting from 20 feet a closing par. He beamed, waved his hand and raised his putter. "I'm not surprised," said Stanford men’s golf coach Conrad Ray while watching the final round. "He's a super-athletic player, a long hitter on a short course, and he's having a great putting week, obviously. He's one of the longest on our team.” Thorbjornsen has proven throughout his amateur career that he isn’t one to shy away from the moment. He won the 2016 Drive, Chip and Putt (Boys 14-15 Division) at Augusta National. He won the 2018 U.S. Junior at the Upper Course at Baltusrol, beating favorite Akshay Bhatia in the final, despite being hospitalized with a 104-degree fever right before the tournament. He made the cut at the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach as a 17-year-old. And here he was Sunday at TPC River Highlands, making four birdies and an eagle in a six-hole stretch around the turn to give himself a genuine chance at a PGA TOUR victory. “It was incredible. It was surreal,” said Thorbjornsen after signing his scorecard Sunday afternoon. “It’s better than how I dreamt about it. It’s so loud. It was very welcoming. “I can’t wait to come back next year and the following years.” Thorbjornsen plans to return to Stanford for his junior year, but he’s not done scratching the itch of elite competition. He’s flying to London for an Open Championship qualifier on Tuesday, aiming to tee it up in a second major championship of the summer. Earlier this week, Thorbjornsen played a practice round with Collin Morikawa. He picked the five-time TOUR winner’s brain on what it takes to perform at the highest level of the game. “He said to try and do whatever it takes to be comfortable out there and understand that it’s just another round of golf,” Thorbjornsen said. “That everyone’s human, basically. Those guys are just really good. Try and forget about it and just play your game.” Across four rounds at the Travelers Championship, Thorbjornsen did just that.

 

26 Jun 2022


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