Two weeks ago, Xander Schauffele won the Travelers Championship, his first individual PGA Tour victory in three years.
It didn’t take long to get his next one.
After a quick stop in Ireland, where he won the two-day J.P. McManus Pro-Am, Schauffele outlasted one of the strongest fields in the golfing world with a final-round 70. Despite playing what he called his “worst golf of the week,” he leaned on two late birdies to post seven under par, good for a one-shot win at the Genesis Scottish Open.
“It’s an incredible feeling. Big sense of relief,” Schauffele said post-round. “It was a very stressful day and this is very rewarding.”
Stressful indeed. Schauffele began his day at the Renaissance Club with a two-shot lead and added to it with two spectacular birdies set up by approach shots from outside 200 yards. But it wouldn’t all be smooth sailing. A missed six-footer for birdie at No. 3 kicked off a rough stretch in which he bogeyed three of four holes and finished the front nine at six under for the tournament. Schauffele’s friend Kurt Kitayama had suddenly seized a one-shot lead. Big names lurked close behind, including Schauffele’s good friend Patrick Cantlay and his Ryder Cup teammate Jordan Spieth.
“I was trying to find something,” Schauffele said. “Every time I wanted to cut it I hit it way right and every time I wanted to draw it I hit it way left. At least it was going the correct direction, but it was going, you know, miles apart.”
He found enough. Schauffele ran off a string of pars, worthy scores on the challenging links test, and then canned a 15-footer for birdie at No. 14 to reclaim the outright lead.
He all but sealed the deal when he found the fairway at the par-5 16th and then hit the green in two, setting up a two-putt birdie and a two-shot cushion.
“I came out of the gates very nicely and kind of hit a wall and was looking a bit sketchy for a little bit, as I like to say,” Schauffele said. “It was nice to sort of steady the ship on the way in.”
He took advantage of the extra stroke at No. 18, where he took iron off the tee, played his second just short of the green and ended up lagging a six-footer near the hole for a tap-in bogey and a one-shot win.
“It’s what links golf promotes, getting the ball in the hole,” Schauffele said. “I was telling myself that, it doesn’t really have to be pretty. It wasn’t very pretty, unfortunately, but I got the ball in the hole and one better than everyone else.”
With the victory, Schauffele — who earned $1.44 million in victory — becomes the first golfer to win consecutive starts on the PGA Tour since Scottie Scheffler won the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and the Masters earlier this year.
It was fitting that Schauffele’s win came in the first-ever co-sanctioned PGA Tour and DP World Tour event; the tournament fell under both umbrellas for the first time. He praised the fans and called it “an honor” to win the first such event.
Schauffele will jump to No. 5 in the world with the win, his highest ranking since late 2021. He’ll also move front and center as a favorite at this week’s Open Championship at St. Andrews, where he’s seeking his first major championship.
“I’m not sure if that’s like a curse or something,” he said with a smile. “I’m going to ignore all the media as much as possible. There’s a few guys like to tell me about history and all, but I’m obviously in good form and going to try to carry that into next week.”