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Schauffele Tops Drive On Back Nine, Still Wins

Xander Schauffele shot a ridiculous final-round — and course-record-setting — 11-under par 62 to come from five shots back of 54-hole leader Gary Woodland to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Sunday in Hawaii.

What’s more impressive than the eight birdies and two eagles that Schauffele notched was the fact that he opened with a bogey, and then following his second eagle in four holes on the par-4 12th, he topped the subsequent tee shot on the par-4 13th hole.

Mark Rolfing and Aron Oberholser were on the call for Golf Channel and their reactions to the shot tell you everything you need to know about the shot Schauffele played.

“Aron, the fairway actually gets wider…” Rolfing began before seeing the ball flight, which was visualized by Toptracer, “but that was almost like he topped it!”

“That was… I don’t know what that was,” Oberholser responded. 

“That is a terrible shot,” Rolfing concluded.

However, Schauffele was 7-under par on his round at that point, 20-under par for the tournament, and able to find the right side of the putting surface with his second shot. He two-putted from 75 feet and moved on to the 14th hole no worse for the wear. 

If the tee shot on the 13th hole affected him at all going forward, Schauffele didn’t show it as he hit the fairway on all five remaining holes, including blasting four of those drives over 300 yards. He would go on to birdie Nos. 14, 15, 17 and 18 to edge Woodland by a stroke.

The win was Schauffele’s fourth of his career and already his second of the young 2018-19 season. Interestingly, Schauffele has come from behind in all four of his victories. 

“All of my wins have been from behind,” he said in his winner’s press conference. “This was in sort of dramatic fashion and it turned into a birdiefest coming down the stretch. So I have no idea what it is, but I think the next step in my career is to learn to be cool under the gun, having a lead and maintaining it.”

At 25 years old and now ranked No. 6 in the world, that next step in Schauffele’s career could spell trouble for the rest of the Tour.

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