Xander Schauffele holds the champions trophy after the final round of the Tournament of Champions golf event, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, at Kapalua Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii.
Despite opening with a bogey, Schauffele quickly recovered, firing eight birdies and two eagles on his way to victory. Two eagle chips he almost made, one hitting the left edge of the cup, the other stopping inches away in the heart.
Gary Woodland reeled off five successive birdies en route to a second straight 67 that gave him a three-shot lead at the halfway point of the PGA Tour's Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Friday.
Schauffele was in the group ahead of him, and Woodland could see as the 25-year-old Californian went after the left flag on the tough 17th hole with a 6-iron to just inside 10 feet for the first birdie of the final round.
"He knows he could kick my (tail) if he wanted to", Schauffele said.
But, Woodland wasn't the only to fearless the course known for its howling winds.
Woodland, who held a three shot lead heading in to the final round, managed a five-under 68 to close out solo second, but came up a shot short of converting his 54-hole lead after failing to birdie the final hole. He set tournament marks with the lowest closing round by a victor and the largest 18-hole comeback (five shots).
"Some great rounds have been started by a bogey so I figured "why not do it"?" "We kept our head down and tried to run for it".
Xander Schauffele picked up his second title of the 2018-19 season with a brand new Callaway Epic Flash driver and Apex Pro 19 Irons, which were both only launched last week! He rallied from three shots behind to win that one, finishing birdie-birdie and then making one more birdie to win a playoff.
He'll do the same on Sunday, when he'll be seeking a fourth US PGA Tour title.
Turning professional less than four years ago, he has bagged four PGA Tour victories during the past 18 months.
Woodland, a three-time victor on the PGA Tour who led by three strokes after the second and third rounds, closed with a 68 but missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the last hole that would have forced a playoff.
The four-times major champion, playing for the first time on Maui, seemed ideally placed to put the heat on overnight leader Gary Woodland but once again failed to deliver in the final pairing, a one-under 72 the worst score of the top 10 finishers at Kapalua.
"She's been downhill for a little while now", Woodland said. He needed a two-way tie for eighth to remain No. 1 in the world over Justin Rose, one of three eligible players for the winners-only field that is not at Kapalua this week.