Home » Schauffele claims maiden major title at PGA Championship

Schauffele claims maiden major title at PGA Championship

Schauffele carded a final round of 65 at Valhalla to hold off the challenges of fellow American Bryson DeChambeau and Norway’s Viktor Hovland to secure his maiden major title.

The Olympic champion held his nerve to birdie the 72nd hole for a winning total of 21-under-par, the lowest score in relation to par in major championship history, eclipsing Australian Jason Day’s 2015 PGA Championship-winning score at Whistling Straits.

 The 30-year-old had boasted a dozen top-10 finishes at the majors, including runner-up showings at the British Open in 2018 and Masters in 2019, without previously breaking through.

“I am very satisfied. I’m tired. Once I sat down in scoring, I felt a little bit more tired. But just a whirlwind of emotions,” Schauffele said. 

Schauffele held a three-shot lead after also equalling the lowest single-round score for a second time with a stunning opening 62, but came into the final round tied with two-time major winner Collin Morikawa.

The winning moment on the 18th green. Xander Schauffele becomes a major champion for the first time. PHOTO: Getty Images.

A birdie on the 1st helped Schauffele reclaim the outright lead and further gains on the 4th, 7th and 9th took him into the back nine two ahead.

A clumsy bogey on the par-5 10th and Hovland’s birdie on the 12th meant the pair were suddenly tied and Hovland moved in front for the first time with a birdie on the 13th.

Schauffele responded superbly to pick up shots on the 11th and 12th to reclaim the lead before DeChambeau joined playing partner Hovland on Schauffele’s heels with a birdie on the 16th after his pulled drive clattered into the trees and bounced back into the fairway.

DeChambeau holed from 10 feet for birdie on the 18th to join Schauffele on 20-under before Hovland failed to convert from the same distance and also missed the par putt.

Schauffele bravely saved par from right of the 17th green but was unfortunate to see his drive on the last stop just short of a fairway bunker, leaving him with a hugely awkward stance.

With both feet in the sand, Schauffele hit a superb shot short of the green, pitched up to six feet and held his nerve to hole the winning putt for his first major title.

It was the perfect riposte to those who viewed him as something of an underachiever, especially after being overhauled by Scottie Scheffler in the last round of the Players Championship in March and by Rory McIlroy at Quail Hollow last week.

“I knew I had to birdie the last hole, looking up at the board,” Schauffele said.

“I was trying to squeak a birdie in there somehow just to have some kind of cushion. It was a hectic birdie as well but it was awesome.

“I kept telling myself, I need to earn this, I need to prove this to myself, and this is my time.”

Min Woo Lee closed with a 67 to finish at the leading Australian in a share of 26th at nine-under with 2023 champion Brooks Koepka.

– Phil Casey

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