With a name like Xander Schauffele, you’re bound to stand out on the PGA Tour just because. On Sunday in Atlanta, the 23-year-old rookie stood out among the best golfers in the world.
The native of San Diego won the TOUR Championship by one stroke over FedEx Cup winner Justin Thomas, sliding in a 3-foot birdie to finish a 2-under 68 in the final round.
“Five months ago, two months ago, three hours ago, I wasn’t expecting a lot,” Schauffele said. “I’ve hit every goal we’ve ever imagined.”
All this a year after missing a PGA tour card by $975, only to earn it during a four-tournament playoff series.
As late as June he was 134th in the FedEx Cup standings and had to qualify for the US Open by way of a five-man playoff for the final two spots.
Thomas couldn’t make up enough ground because Schauffele gave him no room to on the back nine, one-putting four straight greens from outside of six feet. With the last birdie, he won $3.75 million. He’s suddenly No. 32 in the world.
A month shy of his 24th birthday, Schauffele finishes the 2017 season making 20 cuts in 28 events, winning two tournaments, finishing in the top 10 four time and the top 25 11 times. He earned $4.312 million for the season.