They say you can’t win a PGA Tour event on Thursday but Xander Schauffele won the Travelers Championship on Thursday and Friday, shooting back-to-back 63s then posting a 67 and 68 over the weekend. That was enough for a two-shot victory over Sahith Theegala (who double-bogeyed the final hole) and J.T. Poston for his sixth PGA Tour win and first after holding the 54-hole lead.
Not that erasing his 0-for-4 mark converting a third-round leader was simple. Schauffele was chased most of the final day – a seemingly final-round tradition at TPC River Highlands where eight of the previous 10 champions had come from behind on Sunday. But Schauffele needed every bit of good fortune, including dropping a 26-foot birdie putt at the par-3 11th hole to stretch his lead to three shots over Poston, Theegala and amateur Michael Thorbjornsen. That birdie was needed with Schauffele bogeying the 12th after an errant drive, then Theegala making birdies on the 13th, 15th and 17th holes to take the lead before his disaster on 18. Schauffele would up delivering the final-margin-boosting birdie at the last.
Schauffele’s key clubs were his irons and putter. He ranked fifth in strokes gained/approach-the-green gaining more than five shots on the field and was first in greens in regulation, hitting a staggering 63 of 72 greens for a 87.5 percent clip. He also picked up nearly eight strokes on the field in strokes gained/putting to rank fourth; he was T-11 in putts per green in regulation
Schauffele’s putter is an Odyssey O-Works Red 7 CH mallet putter with what the company refers to as a “crank hosel”.
“The hosel is interesting,” Schauffele told Golf Digest last year. “It creates a little bit of toe hang whereas many mallets are face balanced. It helps it swing a little easier.”
Schauffele swung his Callaway Apex TCB irons easily, too. The irons, fitted with Nippon Modus Tour 130X shafts and Golf Pride ZGrip Cord grips, 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 in 2020. “No reason to make the game harder.”
Even if his latest win didn’t come easy.
What Xander Schauffele had in the bag at the 2022 Travelers Championship:
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft
Driver: Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond (Mitsubishi Kai’li White 70 TX), 10.5 degrees
3-wood: Callaway Epic Speed, 15 degrees
Hybrid: Callaway Apex UW, 21 degrees
Irons (4-PW): Callaway Apex TCB
Wedges: Callaway Jaws Raw (52 degrees); Titleist Vokey SM6 (56 degrees): Titleist Vokey SM9 WedgeWorks (60 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey O-Works Red 7 CH
PHOTO: Tim Nwachukwu