From the PGA Tour: Thomas takes the sea­son as Schauf­fele wins the Tour

The Jakarta Post - - SPORTS - Dale Dhillon THE JAKARTA POST/ATLANTA

Xan­der Schauf­fele’s sank a pre­car­i­ous putt that cir­cled the hole on the 18th green at East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta (par 70) to move to 12 (268 to­tal) un­der par and win the 2017 sea­son end­ing Tour Cham­pi­onship. The 23-year-old Amer­i­can be­comes the first rookie to achieve this honor. Schauf­fele said that his hands were shak­ing when mak­ing that fi­nal putt on the 18th. “I thought it missed, that’s why I couldn’t even re­act to cel­e­brate be­cause I thought I just missed a two-footer to win. Still kind of in shock,” he said. Schauf­fele looked star­tled when he was told he’d just won US$3.58 mil­lion. He barely squeaked into the Tour Cham­pi­onship and was ranked 26 out of the 30 man fi­nal ros­ter, an un­likely cham­pion con­sid­er­ing the starstud­ded field. Af­ter his re­mark­able and his­tor­i­cal win Schauf­fele is a shoe-in for PGA Tour Rookie of the Year for the 2016-2017sea­son.

The week be­longed to Schauf­fele, but the year be­longed to 24-year-old Amer­i­can Justin Thomas. He had a putt from about four me­ters to tie Schauf­fele and force a play­off and missed it. He set­tled for sec­ond place in the Tour Cham­pi­onship which was good enough to win the year-long Fedex Cup and its $10m bonus. Thomas was in sec­ond place in to­tal Fedex Cup points com­ing into the Tour Cham­pi­onship just be­hind Fedex Cup leader Jor­dan Spi­eth. Thomas edged out Spi­eth who fin­ished the Tour Cham­pi­onship tied for sev­enth at 7 un­der par. Spi­eth, three times win­ner this year still col­lected a stag­ger­ing $3.3m for his trou­bles when com­bin­ing the Fedex Cup and Tour Cham­pi­onship pay­off. In fact, the to­tal prize money for the Tour Cham­pi­onship was $8.75m and the Fedex Cup $25m for a whop­ping to­tal of al­most $34m paid out on the week­end.

Thomas, for his part won five times dur­ing the 2016-2017 sea­son which in­cluded cap­tur­ing his first ma­jor, i.e. the PGA Cham­pi­onship. He is a lock in to be crowned the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. He re­flected on how his sea­son got un­der way this year when he said: “And how crazy it was, we started the year with a 75 in Napa look­ing like I’m go­ing to miss the cut and I end up shoot­ing 66 to make the cut on the num­ber. We’ve def­i­nitely come a long way since that 75.” He shot a 59 at the Sony Open early in the year and then he set the low­est score to par ever recorded at a US Open in May when he shot a nine un­der 63. Go­ing fur­ther back, Thomas holds the distinc­tion of be­ing the youngest player in PGA Tour his­tory to make a PGA Tour cut, a feat he ac­com­plished when he was only 16 years old. He knew he had a great chance to win the Fedex Cup dur­ing Sun­day’s fi­nal round but did not want to know where he stood af­ter the third round: “I don’t know who it was in the scor­ing trailer, scor­ing tent, what­ever, yes­ter­day that was go­ing to give me an up­date and I in­ter­rupted, I said, “I don’t care to know, don’t tell me any­thing. You can tell Jimmy [cad­die] what­ever you want, but I don’t want to know any­thing.” Then he started and just said: “I don’t want to know any­thing, I’m good and I walked out.”

Thomas is a close friend of Spi­eth off the course, but the two men are fierce com­peti­tors. Con­sid­er­ing Spi­eth’s spec­tac­u­lar year, Thomas had to ex­e­cute with dogged de­ter­mi­na­tion to hold Spi­eth off for Player of the Year and to win the Fedex Cup. Thomas said ear­lier in the week that he sees no rea­son why he can’t win many more ma­jors dur­ing the course of

his ca­reer. The PGA Tour is now over­flow­ing with young tal­ent and the 2016-2017sea­son, more than any other, has stood wit­ness to this shift. There were 28 wins by 19 dif­fer­ent play­ers in their 20s this sea­son, which is the most in PGA Tour his­tory. A can­did Thomas ex­pressed a fit­ting plan to cel­e­brate the close of a spec­tac­u­lar

year when he said: “I don’t know if it’s sad or what it says about me, but that’s some­thing I think about when I win a cool tro­phy, is man, I get to take this to a place that I love and they [friends and fam­ily] get to fill it up with what­ever I want [to drink] all night and I get to en­joy it with them be­cause those are peo­ple that have been great to me and peo­ple that I en­joy spend­ing time with and peo­ple that I want to en­joy these mo­ments with.”

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