Kapalua, Hawaii – From the island of Maui in Hawaii, Xander Schauffele takes the first trophy of the new year as the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions winner. The field was small (33 players) but dangerously competitive as it was comprised of only PGA Tour winners from the previous season. Xander won late in 2018 at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China but will lock up the first spot in the 2020 Sentry Tournament with his win at Kapalua Plantation Course.
There was a plethora of storylines this week. Besides the many new equipment and player sponsor changes, the new rules of golf were implemented for the first time. This lead to oddly watching Bryson DeChambeau putting with the flagstick in and guys dropping from knee-height. Even with all these distractions, Xander stuck with his game plan. It certainly was no easy task to make a huge comeback on Sunday with so many big names carding low scores. Kevin Tway blitzed the field on Thursday with a low-round of 66, grabbing an early day-one lead. Justin Thomas hovered the leaderboard but was doomed by not going low until Sunday. Rory McIlroy had the best chance to catch the 54-hole leader Gary Woodland as he sat 3 shots off the lead Saturday night, but it was Xander Schauffele who was able to deliver the low round of the day and pull off an unlikely win.
Xander’s Sunday round of 62 was the lowest final round ever to par to win on the PGA Tour (-11). His winning formula included holing out from the fairway – twice! On the par-5 ninth hole, Xander had a short chip for his third shot that trickled in for an eagle. Three holes later at the par-4 12th, he drained a wedge from 106 yards for yet another eagle. Despite his heroics, Xander found himself in a tie for the lead with Gary Woodland on the 72nd hole. On the par-5 18th, Xander’s second shot landed about 9 feet right of the hole. Although he barely missed (what would have been) his third eagle of the day, the birdie snatched the clubhouse lead. Woodland, playing just behind Schauffele’s group left his eagle chip about 10 feet short of the hole. He missed his birdie putt, thus crowning Xander the first winner of 2019. This is Xander’s fourth PGA Tour victory.
Next week, the PGA will remain in Hawaii but will move over to Wai’alae Country Club for the first full-field event of 2019 in the Sony Open.
Xander Schauffele WITB:
Driver: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero (Graphite Design Tour AD-BB 7X)
3-wood: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, 15˚ (Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 8X)
5-wood: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, 18˚ (Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 8X)
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro 2019 4-PW (True Temper Dynamic Gold X100)
Putter: Odyssey O-Works #7 Red
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X