Xander Schauffele walks it off with 18th-hole birdie to win PGA Championship

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Xander Schauffele walked it off at Valhalla Golf Club on Sunday, birdying the 18th hole to finish 21-under for the PGA Championship victory. 

Schauffele’s 263 strokes over his four rounds is the lowest scoring total in major championship history. 

Schauffele was tied with Bryson DeChambeau, who shot a 64, at 20-under entering the final hole. Schauffele, after going up and down to save par on the 17th hole, walked onto the 18th tee knowing a birdie would give him the Wanamaker Trophy.

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Xander Schauffele hits a tee shot

Xander Schauffele hits his tee shot on the fifth hole during the final round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

He did just that and Schauffele can forever say he’s a major champion.

It was an ending out of a golf movie as Schauffele looked ahead into the 18th fairway with birdie on his mind for the win. But his tee shot didn’t go as planned as it never created the fade he wanted on the long par-5, and his ball ended up in the rough just before the bunker.

As Schauffele dissected his lie, his feet had to be in the bunker and the ball was well above them, which he knew would create a big hook once he made contact. After reviewing the shot with his caddie, Schauffele took a whale at it, and he was short of the green, right in the fairway for a great chance to get it close with his next shot and have a birdie chance for the win.

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His third shot was a short chip, where he was looking to get it over the elevation and let it run to the hole. Schauffele, with tons of patrons sitting behind the 18th green, had ice in his veins when he made great contact with his ball and saw a six-foot putt for the win.

After Collin Morikawa finished with a birdie to get back to 15-under, which he started the day alongside Schauffele in the final pairing, it was time to see if we needed a playoff with DeChambeau or whether Schauffele would have ice in his veins once more. 

He stepped into his putt, rocked his shoulder and the ball started on the right line but was going just a tad to his left. It stayed true, though, lipping around that left edge and falling into the cup. 

Schauffele shot his arms in the air and let out the best sigh of relief as the crowd roared. He finished with a 6-under 65 and 21-under, an incredible performance to win his first major. 

“I really didn’t want to go into a playoff against Bryson,” he said, laughing after his victory.

Bryson DeChambeau tips his cap

Bryson DeChambeau is shown after making a putt on the second hole during the final round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt York)

DeChambeau certainly put the pressure on Schauffele, and it all began on Friday with a second-round 65, and he followed that up with a 4-under 67 on Saturday to place himself in the running for the title. 

Then he exploded on Sunday with a 7-under 64, including birdies on holes 16 and 18. DeChambeau lined up for his putt on 18, knowing he needed to get to 20-under, which is where Schauffele was. He had the right line as it rolled, but the question was the speed as it started to let up on its pace. 

When the ball got to the hole, it had just enough strength left to fall in, and DeChambeau threw his hands in the air with emotion. 

He was on the driving range prepping in case he had to go back to 18 for the playoff, but once he saw Schauffele’s putt go down, DeChambeau went back to the green and congratulated him. 

Looking at the rest of the field, Viktor Hovland was in the lead at one point in the final round, but he had a bogey on 18 to finish 5-under on the day and 18-under for the tournament. Thomas Detry also made a push with a 5-under round to finish 15-under for the tournament.

Also tied eighth for the tournament were the biggest movers on Sunday, as Billy Horschel went 7-under to finish 13-under for the tournament, while Scottie Scheffler’s chaotic week ended with a 6-under round to move up 16 spots on the leaderboard after a rough third round 73. 

Schauffele has come so close to winning majors in the past, finishing tied for second in both the 2019 Masters and 2018 Open Championship. He’s also been tied for third in the U.S. Open, the next major on the list.

Xander Schauffele looks on

Xander Schauffele watches his tee shot on the 11th hole during the final round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

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But he no longer has to think about a what-if. Schauffele hoisted the Wanamaker Trophy with a big smile on his face, knowing his name would forever be etched on its body. 

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