PGA Championship: Xander Schauffele holds his nerve to clinch long-awaited first major

CNNAmerican golfer Xander Schauffele won the 106th PGA Championship on Sunday, holding off compatriot Bryson DeChambeau in a nail-biting finale to clinch a long-awaited first major title.

World No. 3 Schauffele was pushed to the final hole at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, but the 30-year-old held his nerve to birdie and finish one stroke ahead of LIV Golf’s DeChambeau at 21-under par overall.

A final round six-under 65 was just enough to clinch a maiden major title for Schauffele, shredding his unwanted title as one of the most talented golfers to never win one of golf’s four flagship events.

The Californian had finished runner-up twice and 12 times inside the top 10 at the majors but broke his duck in style, opening Thursday with a spectacular 62 – the joint-lowest round score in major history – and signing off with a nerveless putt from just over six feet.

“I was actually kind of emotional after the putt lipped in,” eight-time PGA Tour winner Schauffele, who claimed a $3.33 million winner’s cut of an $18.5 million prize purse, said as he was presented with the Wanamaker Trophy.

“It’s been a while since I’ve won, and I really just kept saying it all week, ‘I just need to stay in my lane.’ Man, was it hard to stay in my lane today, but I tried all day to just keep focus on what I’m trying to do and keep every hole ahead of me.”

“I just told myself, ‘This is my opportunity, and just capture it,’” he added.


DeChambeau laments his ‘B’ game

A fired up DeChambeau played a near-perfect round to push Schauffele to the death, shooting a bogey-free 64 as he hunted a second major crown.

Having finished tied-sixth at the Masters, the big-hitting Californian looks to be getting closer to the form that helped him win the US Open in 2020.

“First … proud of Xander for finally getting the job done. He’s an amazing golfer and a well deserved major champion now,” DeChambeau told reporters.

“On my side of the coin, disappointing, but, whatever. I played well. Didn’t strike it my best all week. Felt like I had my ‘B’ game pretty much … but one that gives me a lot of momentum for the rest of the majors.

“I said today it was closing time, but it will be closing time hopefully over the next couple majors.”


Two shots behind DeChambeau in third, Norway’s Viktor Hovland remains stuck with the unwanted title Schauffele has now escaped: ‘nearly-man.’

The 26-year-old had arrived at the final tee level with DeChambeau but could only bogey, resigning him to his third top-four major finish without silverware in the last two years.

Collin Morikawa had been level with compatriot Schauffele at tee off on Sunday but, despite bogeying just once, could only muster the same number of birdies. The two-time major champion’s even par 71 saw him finish in a share of fourth with Belgium’s Thomas Detry at 15-under overall.

Scheffler finishes with a flourish

It was a suitably frenzied climax to a chaotic week in Lousville, with the event upended by the arrest of world No. 1 and tournament favorite Scottie Scheffler before Friday’s second round.

The 27-year-old is facing four charges, including felony assault, but returned to play mere hours after his release from jail to shoot a stellar 66.

Last month’s Masters champion went one better with a closing 65 but had left himself with too much ground to make up to clinch a second consecutive major after carding a frustrating two-over 73 on Saturday.

He finished eight shots behind Schauffele in a share of eighth, a “good” end to a “hectic” week.

“I’m not going to sit here and say that I played poorly yesterday because of what happened on Friday,” Scheffler, who said he planned to play the PGA Tour’s next event in Texas on Thursday, told reporters.

“I just had a bad day out on the course and was proud of how I came out here and bounced back today.

“Saturday morning, I think it finally hit me what really happened. Friday most of the day I didn’t really even eat … as somebody who’s a pretty big eater, that was a strange feeling, so obviously my body was a bit off with what had happened in the morning.

“I did my best to leave that behind me and come out here and compete and do what I love, and the support I got from the fans was amazing. I think they were cheering extra loud for me this week, and I got a lot of support from the players and caddies as well.”

Scheffler will undoubtedly be among the favorites again when the US Open, the next men’s major on the calendar, tees off at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in North Carolina on June 13.


For a golfer who had faced questions over his ability to get over the line on the biggest stage, Schauffele looked at ease in the driving seat, rolling in a fourth birdie of the day at the ninth hole to make the turn with a two shot cushion.

Yet by the time he approached the 11th tee, he was second.

Schauffele’s bogeyless run had come to to a shuddering halt at the previous hole when his four-foot putt lipped out. The window had opened by a crack for the first time and Hovland went crashing through it, lasering home his second birdie in a row – and his sixth of the round – at the 13th to surge into solo first.

A collective thought of “here we go again” rippled around Valhalla, but clearly didn’t reach the man it concerned. Schauffele responded immediately and emphatically, sinking back-to-back birdies to wrestle his lead back from Hovland.


DeChambeau would not allow a two-horse race to materialize though, his superb play aided by a remarkable slice of luck at the 16th when his hooked tee shot – destined for the woods – careened off a tree and onto the fairway. A subsequent birdie saw him join playing partner Hovland within touching distance of Schauffele.

The LIV Golf star roared in delight as his final putt just about trickled in for birdie, sending him back to the clubhouse fist-pumping and level with Schauffele.

The picture was now simple but bubbling with tension. With Hovland missing his chance and Morikawa well behind, Schauffele had two holes to either win it, send it to a playoff, or suffer another agonizing near-miss.

A par at the penultimate hole put the championship on a knife-edge at the par-five 18th. As DeChambeau warmed up for a potential playoff on the range, he watched a nearby screen intently as Schauffele’s drive settled in a nasty-looking position on the edge of a bunker.

His feet planted in the sand, it was a disaster waiting to happen, but Schauffele made it look easy. Two sublime shots later, he stood six feet away from a first major.

After years of heart-wrenching close calls, it was perhaps poetic that the ball took a beat-skipping journey around the lip of the cup before dropping in. A long wait had ended, and euphoric celebrations could begin.