The PGA Tour kicked off the 2019 calendar year with the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua in Hawaii. Gary Woodland led after 54 holes and Rory McIlroy was lurking, but Sunday started with Xander Schauffele charging. Here’s what you missed.
Who won: Xander Schauffele (11-under 62, 23 under overall)
How it happened: Gary Woodland, looking for PGA Tour victory No. 4, held a three-shot lead over McIlroy after 54 holes, and Schauffele was five back to start the day. But as McIlroy faded, Schauffele surged. Even after bogeying the 1st hole, Schauffele made birdies on 3, 5, 6 and 7 before making eagle on the par-5 9th to turn in 31 and get within one of Woodland. From that point it was Schauffele vs. Woodland the rest of the way. Schauffele, playing in the group ahead of Woodland, eagled 12 and then birdied 14 and 15 to grab the solo lead. Woodland matched his birdie on 15 to tie him at 21 under, and they both birdied 17 to get to 22 under. Schauffele, yet again, made a birdie in front of Woodland on the par-5 18th to take the solo lead. His eagle putt at the course record just slipped by. Woodland’s second shot came up short of the green, but when he chipped on and missed his birdie putt from just outside of 10 feet, Schauffele’s comeback was complete.
Best round: You guessed it, it’s Mr. Schauffele. He shot an 11-under 62 with two eagles and repeatedly forced Woodland to play catch up — even though Schauffele was the one who started the day five back. Woodland shot a five-under 68 to finish alone in second.
Best quote: “Honestly, I’m a little speechless. It was a crazy day and I was a bit nervous too. Sitting in that room they asked if I wanted to come out here and watch [Woodland finish], but a camera would be on me. ‘Ya know, I think I’ll just hang out in here.'” – Xander Schauffele
Why it matters: It’s Schauffele’s fourth career PGA Tour victory and second straight win. He’s projected to move to No. 6 in the World Ranking.
Best shot: Schauffele needed just a wedge from 107 yards out on the par-4 12th, and when he holed it for eagle he jumped to 19 under and within one of Woodland.
Best course marshal: You have to love the commitment made by the guy in front of the tee box here. Who cares no spectators were around?!
Up next: The Tour stays in the state of Hawaii but skips over to Honolulu for next week’s Sony Open. It will also mark Jordan Spieth’s first start of the year.