For the second time in two starts, Xander Schauffele has come out on top.
After nearly blowing a two-shot lead at The Renaissance Club in North Berwick, Scotland, Schauffele rallied with two birdies in his final five holes of the day to claim the Scottish Open.
“This was stressful. I’m not going to put makeup on the pig here,” Schauffele said on CBS. “It was a very average day, probably my worst stuff this week. … You really can’t get ahead of yourself on links golf. I was ahead, I was behind, I was ahead, I was behind. I just kind of kept my head down.”
— Golf on CBS ⛳ (@GolfonCBS) July 10, 2022
Schauffele stumbled in his finish on Saturday, bogeying his final two holes of the day to card a 4-under 66. While that matched the low round in what was a windy day at The Renaissance Club, and it gave him a two-shot lead over Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello, his lead could have been much, much bigger.
“I had pretty much everything going,” Schauffele said after the third round. “I was judging the bounces well and making sort of the putts I need to and getting up-and-down when I was missing the green. Six birdies through 16, no complaints, and a tough finish.”
While Schauffele opened up with two straight birdies on Sunday to rebuild his lead, he made three bogeys in his final four holes on the front nine — which opened the door for the rest of the field.
Kurt Kitayama jumped into a share of the lead after finishing early with a 4-under 66, and Joohyung Kim got there too with a pair of birdies in his final three holes. Patrick Cantlay, Tommy Fleetwood and even Jordan Spieth — though just briefly — all made strong pushes, too.
That, however, is when Schauffele turned it back on. He made a birdie on No. 14 and then sank an easy birdie after missing an eagle putt on the par-5 16th to take a two-shot lead once again. Despite landing right behind a sprinkler head on the par-3 17th, Schauffele saved his par to enter the final hole up two.
Schauffele narrowly missed his par putt on the final hole after his approach landed just shy of the green, but it didn’t matter. He still walked off the course with a one-shot win, which marked the seventh of his PGA Tour career.
Kitayama finished in second at 6-over, and Kim took third at 5-over on the week. Kitayama’s finish earned him a spot in the British Open next week, as did Brandon Wu and Jamie Donaldson. Cabrera Bello, who started just two shots back, finished in T36 after shooting a 7-over 77 on Sunday.
Schauffele has now won three times on Tour this season, and he’s picked up his 12th top-25 finish. He won the Zurich Classic in April before winning the Travelers Championship last month, which moved him up to No. 11 in the Official World Golf Rankings. He's now won in back-to-back tournaments twice in his career, and has jumped to third in the FedExCup standings.
While next week at St. Andrews is certainly a much bigger challenge, Schauffele is playing about as well as he possibly could be heading into the final major championship of the season.
“I'm not sure if that's like a curse or something,” Schauffele said about going into the British Open fresh off a win. “I'm going to ignore all the media as [much as] possible. There's a few guys [who] like to tell me about history and all, but I'm obviously in good form and going to try to carry that into next week.”