By Steve Eubanks of Global Golf Post
For the first time since 2009, the Tour Championship winner did not win the FedEx Cup. The last time that happened, the two men on the podium at East Lake Golf Club were Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, good historical company for Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas, a couple of guys who still pay underage fees to rent a car.
Thomas, 24, put together one of the best seasons in recent memory with five victories, including the PGA Championship. He was one missed fairway (the 18th on Sunday, where he missed left by 10 feet and had a near-impossible lie) and one missed putt away from possibly adding the Tour Championship to that list. As it was, edging his good friend Jordan Spieth for the FedEx Cup, with its $10 million bonus, would have to do.
Schauffele, a man who made four birdies and an eagle on Sunday at the BMW Championship to get into the field in Atlanta, proved that, like Thomas and Spieth, he has a gear other golfers might not be able to find. Schauffele, 23, and his playing partner on Sunday, Brooks Koepka, were the only men in the field to fire four rounds in the 60s, with Schauffele’s closing 68 impressing most. After a bogey from the deep rough on the fourth hole, the San Diego-area native birdied the par-5 sixth and reeled off a string of pars before reaching the difficult par-4 13th. There, after bombing a tee shot he hit wedge just behind the hole and spun it back to 6 feet. The ensuing birdie gave him the lead, which never relinquished. He finished at 12-under-par 268.
Tied with Thomas going into the final hole, Schauffele played the par-5 18th like a veteran, blistering a tee shot and hitting an iron to the front fringe. From there, he two-putted (although the second putt barely slipped in the left edge) for the victory.
“I thought I’d missed it,” Schauffele said. “That would have been embarrassing.”
Far from embarrassing, Schauffele joined an elite club of twentysomethings who are taking the game by storm.
Driver: TaylorMade M2 2017 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 7X
3 Wood: TaylorMade M1 2017 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-BB 8X
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM6 (52, 56 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
Putter: Odyssey Works Big-T #5
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
Republished with permission by Global Golf Post.