Mayhem at the Travelers Championship - Xander Schauffele escapes with first solo win since 2019
A back-and-forth battle and an unlikely contender later, Schauffele leaves the Nutmeg State with some hardware. PIC: Ben Jared
Holy cow! This tournament never disappoints.
The Travelers Championship has had many naming conventions over the last 50 years; for many years, Connecticut’s premier golf event was known as the Greater Hartford Open (or the GHO as many 203- or 860-area coders know). For three years, it was known as the Buick Championship before Travelers Insurance bought the naming rights in 2007.
Through all its renditions, the tournament has remained the same - total mayhem. Coming into this week, in the last 18 tournaments, 14 of them have been settled by a playoff or one lone stroke. Yes…only FOUR of them since 2003 have been settled by anything more than a stroke.
Arnold Palmer won twice in the late 1950’s. LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman won the tournament in 1995. Phil won it twice in a row in 2001 and 2002. Bubba Watson earned his hat trick in 2018, 8 years after he beat Corey Pavin & Scott Verplank in a playoff, and 3 years after his playoff win over Paul Casey.
And who can forget Jordan Spieth’s incredible playoff win in 2017 from the bunker?!
2022 left no stone unturned. Although it ended up with a 2-stroke margin, it certainly didn’t lack the drama.
Xander Schauffele grabbed his 6th career PGA Tour win, shooting a respectable -19 at TPC River Highlands over the four days. With the exception of a few stumbles, Xander was clinical all weekend, grabbing 22 birdies and only bogeying three holes, all in the third and fourth rounds.
It was a well-deserved victory for Xander, who won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, teaming up with his best friend Patrick Cantlay to grab a two-stroke victory over Billy Horschel and Sam Burns.
Although Schauffele led most of the tournament, he had to withstand a roaring comeback from Sahith Theegala, who shot a solid -6 on Friday and -5 on Saturday. After Theegala took the lead with an impressive bogey on the 17th hole, he had a one-stroke advantage on Xander for the first time all weekend.
But, when he got to 18 - less than 150 yards out from the hole - the game showed its cruel side with this whiff from the bunker.
Yep, that’s the ball not moving anywhere.
Theegala, who came close to his first win at the Waste Management open just a few months ago, turned in an excellent -17 card, with a couple of stumbles along the way. Although he hasn't grabbed his first win yet, it's only a matter of time for the 24-year-old from California.
POSITIVTY CORNER: Michael Thorbjornsen, the amateur from Wellesley, Mass., shines on the bright stage
There are few more incredible things than watching an amateur succeed at a pro event, and Thorbjornsen excelled.
Imagine being a twenty-year-old kid, coming around the 18th green after you've finished a -15 performance, and the crowd is roaring for you? That's nothing short of incredible.