Schauffele Wins Gold Medal in Olympic Golf
by Preston McClellan
Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan - Xander Schauffele claimed the gold medal in men's individual stroke play in golf competition Sunday afternoon at the Kasumigaseki Country Club.
A bogey on the par-5 14th hole temporarily created a tie for the lead with Slovakia's Rory Sabbatini, who had carded a record final round of 61. Schauffele made birdie on the 17th hole to regain the lead.
His tee shot on 18 found the right rough, and Schauffele punched out and left himself needing to get up-and-down for par to seal the victory. He hit a clutch approach shot to four feet and drained the putt to become the first individual American men's golfer to win Olympic gold since Charles Sand at the Olympic Games Paris 1900.
He finished with a score of 266, 18 under par for the tournament.
“Man, it feels good,” Schauffele said. “It really is a special deal, standing on the podium with these two boys, with our flags being raised, the ceremony, I think people talk about why the Olympics are such a special thing to them and we're fortunate enough to be a part of a ceremony and I think we can all see why people say that. So I think we're all very happy to be here right now.”
Sabbatini took the silver medal with a 17 under 267. CT Pan of Chinese Taipei won the bronze medal after a four-hole playoff to break a seven-way tie for third at 15 under par. Team USA's Collin Morikawa was second to Pan in the playoff.
Collin Morikawa rallied on Sunday with a final-round 63 to get into a seven-way tie for third place. He dueled six other competitors for the bronze medal, with it coming down to him and C.T. Pan before Pan made a par on the fourth playoff hole to defeat him.
“Yeah, you (have) to earn it,” Morikawa said. “It was a long four holes and I thought my shot was going to be all right and just mishit it and CT played great and we had to shoot 8-under for both of us to get in this playoff for bronze. So it sucks, but hopefully it's not a last and hopefully we'll be back in four years.”
Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed each carded final-round 65’s to tie for 22nd position.
Full leaderboard is available at https://www.igfgolf.org/olympic-mens-leaderboard