Xander Schauffele nearly blew a three-shot lead on Sunday afternoon. However, thanks to a decisive finish on Day 18 and help from the pack in front of him, Schauffele earned his second Travelers Championship victory of the season.
Schauffele, who began the day with a one-shot lead over Patrick Cantlay, posted a 68 in the final round to take the victory in Connecticut. He has won six times on the PGA Tour and twice this season, following his win at the Zurich Classic.
“I really think this was like, in a small way, this is a big win for me mentally. Just because I had to control myself, you know what I mean?” Schauffele said. “When you’ve been here and things are going well, you just expect to play well all the time. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back. And I thought I did this week.”
“Like I said, I don’t know if that’s the reason I won, but it definitely made me feel more comfortable and helped me in my process all week.”
Rookie Sahith Theegala took the lead after a decisive birdie on No. 17, marking his third in five holes. However, after landing in the fairway bunker on the last hole, Theegala’s difficulties began.
Theegala’s first attempt to get out of the bunker went nowhere, as he was pressed against the edge.
“He knew exactly where we were standing,” Theegala said. “Never in a million years did I think he would let me cut it. All I had to do was snap it. We even said, like, this is a 50/50 ball in terms of, I have to try it and it basically hit just one hair behind it.” Somehow, my body alone, I just hit it with the straight blade.”
He then had an almost identical shot, which he hit well below the green before hitting it. He nearly dropped his bogey but barely got out, leaving him with a double bogey and a back from Schauffele.
Schauffele, meanwhile, hit a perfect drive down the final hole just behind Theegala. He then got within a few feet of the cup, setting up his last birdie of the day for the two-shot victory.
“You just notice. I really don’t know how to describe it,” Schauffele said of his mentality on the final tee. “Yeah, sort of, after seeing what happened, I knew there was a chance the par would win, and birdie for sure. So I had to hit the fairway. So I was so focused at the time to hit that fairway and swing as hard as I could off that tee. Nothing else really mattered.”
Schauffele finished the week at 19-under after his 2-under 68 on Sunday. Theegala finished two behind JT Poston. Amateur Michael Thorbjornsen finished fourth at 15 under for the week.
Although his finish was disappointing, Theegala is still walking away with the best finish of his PGA Tour career.
“Obviously I know and all the guys here know how hard it is to win and how few chances there are to win,” Theegala said. That’s why something like this is really going to hurt. It’s really going to hurt. But it’s only going to grow from that.”
Lexi Thompson takes the lead in the Women’s PGA
Lexi Thompson was in the perfect position to take home her first major in almost a decade on Sunday afternoon. However, Thompson collapsed down the stretch at the Congressional Country Club, where she bogeyed four of her last seven to drop behind In Gee Chun and tie for second in the Women’s PGA Championship.
Thompson, after birdieing two of his first three holes of the day, missed a 2-foot par putt on the 14th. He then stumbled hard around the green on the 16th and grabbed his second bogey in three holes.
She also bogeyed at 17, which put her behind.
While he put in a good spot on the 18th, making an approach shot about 10 feet from the cup missed his putt. Chun saved the pair on Day 18, giving him the one-shot victory from end to end.
Chun opened the week at 8-under 64 and finished 5-under in the tournament for his third major win. The victory was the first on the LPGA since 2018.
Thompson, who declined to speak to the media after her round, finished the day 1-for-73 and tied with Minjee Lee. The 27-year-old, who is currently No. 6 in the Rolex Rankings, has 11 career wins of her own on the LPGA but has not won since the ShopRite LPGA Classic in 2019.