Schauffele comes up short at Tour Championship

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Courtesy of SDSU Athletics

After tying for second at this weekend's PGA Tour Championship, former San Diego State men's golfer Xander Schauffele is No. 7 in the Official World Golf Rankings.

by Breven Honda, Senior Staff Writer

“Down, but never out” was the theme for former Aztec men’s golfer Xander Schauffele at the PGA Tour Championship this past weekend at East Lake Golf Course in Atlanta. 

Schauffele finished -18 and tied with Justin Thomas for second — three shots back of Tour Champion and FedEx Cup winner Dustin Johnson, who finished at -21.  

Johnson is the first No. 1 seed to win the FedEx Cup since Tiger Woods achieved it in 2009. 

Entering Monday, Schauffele was trailing by five shots, and got as close as two shots entering the final hole — a par-5 with a possibility to make eagle. If he made birdie on the final hole, he would have made an extra $500,000, but won $4.5 million as a result of tying with Thomas. 

Schauffele said he looked at the board as he was walking up to the 18th green, knowing that there were other opportunities to win.

“I was hoping to hit my wedge a little closer than I did,” Schauffele said following his round Monday. “I knew I wasn’t going to win and I figured I better make this last putt to earn a little more cash. I didn’t, which sucks, but I tried my best and that’s all that matters.”

Down two shots with two holes to play, Schauffele was hoping for an errant shot from Johnson to open the door for Schauffele but the South Carolinian continued to press and found fairways en route to winning the Tour Championship. 

After a bogey on hole 13 and two pars, the San Diegan had a clutch putt on hole 16 from 22 feet out for birdie to get back within two shots. 

Schauffele got going early getting two birdies within the first three holes, but parred the next seven before getting birdies on holes 11 and 12.

Although Johnson scored -21, Schauffele had the lowest 72-hole score with -15 without the scoring format that was implemented last year ─ which is a first in Tour Championship history. Johnson and Thomas each shot -11. 

Schauffele said Johnson earned the FedEx Cup despite having the lowest score in the tournament and in the three-tournament playoffs. 

“He deserved to win,” Schauffele said. “He won the first one (Northern Trust), tied-first in the second (BMW Championship), and is playing great golf. That’s what the playoffs are all about.”

The Aztec alum had rounds of 67, 65, 67 and 66, making it 16 straight rounds at par or better at East Lake since his first start in 2017, when he won the Tour Championship. He now has two second-place finishes along with a seventh-place tie and a win in four starts.  

With the second-place finish this weekend, he moves up four spots to No. 7 in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Looking back at the 2019-2020 season, Schauffele had four top-3s and seven top-10s to go with finishing second in the FedEx Cup Standings in his fourth year on Tour.   

Schauffele gets set for his 2020-21 season debut in the U.S. Open Sept. 17-20 at Winged Foot Golf Course in Mamaroneck, New York. 

The 5-foot-10 golfer said he will come back home to rest and recharge before the first major tournament of the new season. 

“Go back to San Diego, reboot, try to stay on the East coast time and I’ll be flying out Sunday night,” Schauffele said. “I think it’s good for me, I’m starting to hit my driver better, hit my irons a little better and I obviously putted incredibly this week and it’s a good time to be playing well before a major.”

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