[PHOTO: David Cannon]

They say you can’t win a tournament on the first day, but Xander Schauffele won the 2024 PGA Championship largely on the back of an opening-round 62 that tied the low round in major-championship history. That, along with ensuing rounds of 68-68-65, was enough for a one-shot victory over Bryson DeChambeau for his eighth PGA Tour win and long-awaited first major championship thanks to a final-hole birdie.

Schauffele had so many parts of his game working at Valhalla that it’s difficult to single out any one facet as being the key. Driving it well helps, however, and Schauffele did that, hitting it long (283.6 metres/310.1 yards, ranked 15th) and straight (ranked 16th in fairways hit).

Schauffele put Callaway’s Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond driver in play at the start of the season. The club is the most compact driver in the line and is designed for high swing-speed players seeking to reduce spin. The 10.5-degree head has a 45½-inch Mitsubishi Diamana PD 70TX shaft that is tipped one inch. The adjustable weights are set at seven grams in front and nine grams in back, allowing him to work the ball both ways.

PGA Championship 2024: Xander Schauffele wins at Valhalla with 72nd-hole birdie

Into the greens, Schauffele swung his Callaway Apex TCB irons to great effect as well. The irons, fitted with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue 100X shafts, have a decidedly classic look thanks to a relatively straight leading edge, thin topline and a hosel transition that looks like they were made for a tour player. But the clubs have tungsten weighting that makes them play more forgiving than they look.

“When I was 13 to 15 years old, I played blades and I quickly learned they were not good for me,” Schauffele told Golf Digest when he first put the irons in play. “No reason to make the game harder.”

Schauffele ranked third in strokes gained/approach the green, picking up nearly eight shots on the field. He also was first in greens in regulation for the week, hitting a remarkable 84.72 percent. The work with the driver and irons is a continuation of his season as he currently ranks second on the PGA Tour this year in strokes gained/tee to green.

Asked on Saturday what his mindset going into the final day would be, Schauffele simply said, “I think I need to really just stay in my lane and do a lot of what I’ve been doing and just worry about myself.”

Well said. And well done.

What Xander Schauffele had in the bag at the 2024 PGA Championship:

Ball: Callaway Chrome Tour

Driver: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond (Mitsubishi Diamana PD 70TX), 10.5 degrees

3-wood: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond, 15 degrees

Hybrid: Callaway Apex UW, 21 degrees

Irons (4-PW): Callaway Apex TCB

Wedges: Callaway Jaws Raw (52 degrees); Titleist Vokey SM10 (56 degrees); Titleist Vokey SM10 WedgeWorks

Putter: Odyssey Toulon Las Vegas Prototype