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Xander Schauffele chases down Woodland in Hawaii

10 January, 2019, 12:42 | Author: Delia Walker
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McIlroy said the low fade off the tee still travels more than 300 yards, and he's put on an impressive show this week in Maui where he's No. 1 in the field in strokes gained: off-the-tee and fifth in driving distance. He holed out for an eagle from 107 yards out in the fairway at 12, birdied 14 and 15 and capped his round with back-to-back-birdies to edge his fellow American, who had led four-time major victor Rory McIlroy by three strokes coming into the final round. "I didn't have a bogey today and I can go out and make that a goal tomorrow", he said.

He already has two multiple-win seasons in his third year on the PGA Tour. He got off to a hot start with two birdies in his opening five holes to get to within two shots of his playing partner, but could only find a solitary bogey for the remainder of the round to end up in a tie for 4th with Dustin Johnson and Schauffele's playing partner Marc Leishman.

"I've enjoyed last couple of days, flighting different shots, hitting different trajectories", he said.

Scoring conditions in the PGA Tour's first event of the season are expected to be ideal on Sunday as the winds that have gusted throughout the tournament are expected to die down. "I played great", Woodland told the Golf Channel. "You have an iron into the par 5 in the middle of the fairway on the last hole, you expect to make birdie". I had killed the par 5s all week this week, which is what you've got to do out here.

Rory McIlroy, who started the day in second, faded with a 72 to finish eight shots back tied for fourth. "So I knew what (Schauffele) was doing and the competitor in me knew I needed to do one better and unfortunately I didn't get it done".

Xander Schauffele, who flew under the radar until an eagle at the ninth, slipped through for victory and his course record-equalling 62 was 10 strokes better than McIlroy's round.




"I obviously could have shot a better score, but I did what I wanted to do, gave myself plenty of chances, just couldn't get the ball to drop".

Schauffele joins four other golfers, including Australia's Jason Day, to have shot 62 at Kapalua, although his was the lowest final round by a victor.

Though on the flipside of that statistic is the fact McIlroy was in last group on seven occasions in 2018 (six on the PGA Tour and also at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic) and failed to close-out any including playing the final round of the Tour Championship in Atlanta alongside Tiger Woods.

This duo finished first and second at last year's tournament - Johnson won after going 24 under for the week and Rahm followed (16 under) - and will look to get into contention once again.

Gary Woodland reacts to making birdie on the 11th green during the final round of the Tournament of Champions golf event, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, at Kapalua Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii.

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