Aztec alumnus becomes first rookie to claim tournament title
Photo courtesy goaztecs.com
September 24, 2017 (Atlanta) - Former San Diego State men’s golf All-American Xander Schauffele became the first PGA rookie to capture the Tour Championship on Sunday after claiming a one-stroke victory over Justin Thomas at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia.
Schauffele carded a final-round 68, rimming in a 3-foot birdie putt on the par-5, 590-yard 18th to finish the tournament at 12-under-par 268 and edge Thomas (-11) by one shot, while Russell Henley and Kevin Kisner tied for third at 10-under followed by Paul Casey (-9).
With his triumph, Schauffele collected a $3.75 million prize, including $2 million for finishing third in the FedExCup standings with 2,151 points, trailing only Thomas (3,000) and Jordan Speith (2,340). For his efforts, the Scripps Ranch High alumnus also climbed to No. 32 in the world rankings.
In addition to his birdie at No. 18, Schauffele recorded an impressive drain on the par-4, 440-yard 13th, capping a string of four straight holes with one-putts outside the 6-foot range, the first three of which saved par. Not to be outdone, he also recorded a par save at No. 17 , before landing a 347-yard tee shot on the 18th that left him an approach shot just short of the green.
Earlier this season, Schauffele tied for fifth at the U.S. Open in Erin, Wisconsin, before collecting his first career PGA Tour win with another dramatic one-shot victory at The Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Last October, he also landed in the fifth position at the Sanderson Farms Championships in Jackson, Mississippi, and tied for 11th at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April.
A two-time PING All-West Region honoree, Schauffele received All-America recognition following a brilliant senior campaign at San Diego State in 2015, garnering third-team accolades from the both the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) and Golfweek.
In his three years on Montezuma Mesa, Schauffele amassed 21 top-10 finishes, 16 top-five performances and two individual titles before graduating with a degree in social science. He also owns the school record with a 71.50 career scoring average in 118 rounds played, as well as the program’s single-season standard of 171 birdies set in 2014-15.