Scottish Open: Xander Schauffele survives ‘stressful day’ to clinch title

Olympic champion Xander Schauele survived a roller-coaster final round to claim his third straight win in the £6.7million Genesis Scottish Open.

Schauffele, who entered the week with victories in the Travelers Championship and JP McManus Pro-Am, took a two-shot lead in the final round and birdied the first two holes to immediately double his advantage. .

What looked like a comfortable win turned out to be anything but as the world No. 11 lost three strokes in the space of four holes of the sixth to fall one behind his compatriot. American Kurt Kitayama heads for the back nine.

Kitayama’s bogey on the 17th brought him down to one share of the lead and a closing par completed a stunning 66 to set up what looked like a six-under-par Test clubhouse goal at the Renaissance Club.

However, Schauffele had regained his composure enough to hole out 15ft for a birdie on the 14th and two putts on the 16th par five for another to open a two-shot cushion and a crucial save by the 17th allowed the 28 years -old the luxury of a bogey on the last.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” Schauffele said after a closing level of 70 gave him a one-shot victory over Kitayama in the first event co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.

“It was a big relief when that par putt came in at 17 and I was able to hit some long irons at 18 and delay it up there.

“It was a very stressful day. I’m not going to make up the pig here, it was a very average day. Probably my worst this week. Austin (his younger brother) kept me calm.

“As boring as it sounds, you really can’t get ahead of yourself in link golf. I was ahead, I was behind, I was ahead, I was behind. I just kept my head down and it’s very rewarding. This is the first of many co-sanctioned events and it is an honor to win the first.

South Korean Kim Joo-hyung had birdied on the 16th and 17th to join Kitayama with six under, but three putts on the 18th after attempting a long birdie attempt four feet from the hole.

The 20-year-old, who had never played on a links course before this week, said: “I played really solid today.

“I played bogey-free until the last hole and the 18th is one of the toughest holes we’ve had this week and it’s that last putt that just broke a bit.”

Xander Schauffele won the Genesis Scottish Open after a final round of 70 (Steve Welsh/PA)

(PA wire)

England’s Tommy Fleetwood and American Patrick Cantlay carded the final rounds of 67 to share fourth place on four under, while Kitayama, Brandon Wu and Jamie Donaldson secured all three places on offer at the 150th Open at St Andrews for non-exempt players in the top 10.

Donaldson, who shot a closing 67 to finish tied for sixth with Wu, US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and Cameron Tringale, said: “It’s huge, even though we have booked a holiday the next week, so the wife won’t be happy.

“She can have a great vacation on her own!”

Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth was one shot off the lead when he birdied the 13th but followed with a double bogey the next and eventually signed for a 72 to finish tied for 10th.

Scottish Open: Xander Schauffele survives ‘stressful day’ to clinch title

Source link Scottish Open: Xander Schauffele survives ‘stressful day’ to clinch title

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