TOUR Championship – Round Three

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TOUR Championship - Round Three

Xander Schauffele arrived to the U.S. Open at Wisconsin’s Erin Hills in June as a struggling PGA Tour rookie ranked No. 352 in the world.

He tied for fifth that week, a definitive breakout. A little more than three months later, look at what he’s accomplished, and look at the trophies he is collecting. The latest highlight came Tuesday, when Schauffele was named the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year.

Schauffele, 23, from San Diego, won the Greenbrier Classic in July and held off Justin Thomas (expected to be named the PGA Tour’s Player of The Year later this week) to capture the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. Schauffele was the first rookie to win the event. The victory lifted him to 32ndin the Official World Golf Ranking.

I mean, you always expect a lot of yourself, Schauffele said, but we’re definitely going to have to go back to the drawing board because we hit pretty much every goal we could have imagined.

He now can check off top rookie, too.

He was voted to the honor by his peers on the PGA Tour, who selected him over finalists Wesley Bryan, Patrick Cantlay, Mackenzie Hughes and Grayson Murray. Bryan (RBC Heritage), Hughes (RSM) and Murray (Barbasol) all won tournaments as rookies, and Cantlay, who returned to tournament golf this season after serious back issues, earned a PGA Tour card despite having limited starts. (Jon Rahm was not considered a rookie in 2016-17, having played in 11 PGA Tour events in 2015-16.)

Schauffele was on the outside of the top 30, which is where he needed to be in order to get into the Tour Championship, on Sunday of the penultimate playoff event, the BMW Championship outside Chicago. But a big finish he played his final six holes in 6 under earned him a spot at East Lake. And once there, the run continued, leading him to victory.

Schauffele was one of six players with multiple victories on Tour this season, and finished with four top 10s. He is the fourth member of the high school class of 2011 to earn ROY honors, following Jordan Spieth (2013), Daniel Berger (2015) and Emiliano Grillo (2016).

Being recognized by your peers is one of the highest honors a player can receive, and Xander’s win at the Tour Championship during the FedEx Cup Playoffs capped off what had already been a remarkable rookie season, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

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