Schauffele wins Tour title, Thomas wraps up FedExCup
(Atlanta, GA:) Unheralded rookie Xander Schauffele won the $3.5m Tour Championship first prize but it was ‘Player of the Year’ elect Justin Thomas who brilliantly collected the $10m FedExCup victory package in Atlanta.
23-year-old Schauffele, in just his 30th event on Tour, captured a second Tour title this year with a dramatic three-foot birdie at the last in a 68 for a one-stroke 12-under winning tally on the East Lake course.
“This year has just been a wild ride as I somehow managed to wrangle my way from last week into the Tour Championship and it has been like I have been weaselling my way around all year,” he said.
“So, to stand here and hold the Tour Championship trophy is a real honour.”
Thomas scooped golf’s biggest single cash prize and the Tour’s No. 1 crown thanks to a sizzling 66 to be second at 11-under tally.
Thomas had began the 2016/17 wraparound schedule winning the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and returned from the Christmas break to win back-to-back in Hawaii, and in an effort that included shooting a 59 on day one of the Hawaiian Open.
The 24-year old missed the cut at Royal Birkdale but weeks later stormed through the Quail Hollow field courtesy of a closing 63 to capture the PGA Championship and then in the second of the four Play-Off Series events, Thomas shot closing scores of 63 and 66 to win the Dell Technologies.
“It’s just huge and it’s awesome just because I feel like I played so well this year,” said Thomas.
Justin Thomas holds the 2017 FedExCup trophy (Credit: PGA Tour)
“I was consistent. I mean, a lot of great weeks and great memories even. Life-changing events that just kind of ended with another kind of life-changing thing for me. To just have my name on the trophy with the rest of those guys is pretty awesome.”
“I was just trying to win the golf tournament and to win the FedEx Cup is a huge bonus and to now have won $10m is a weird feeling, as it didn’t come from winning the golf tournament.”
Open Champion, Jordan Spieth, who went into the event heading the FedEx title, also saw his double victory quest end in signing for a 67 that included holing his second shot for eagle at the 10th for a share of seventh place at seven-under.
It meant Spieth ending the year at the Tour’s No. 2.
“My 2017 year has been a great season and if I could repeat it every year then I would be certainly happy but I just fell short today but it was a fun battle,” he said.
“And the way Justin (Thomas) has played this year, with a Major and four other wins he richly deserves the title.”
Sadly, Paul Casey had to wait to the final hole of the last event of the 2016/17 season for his first birdie but only after four earlier bogeys in a closing 73 for outright 5th.
The Englishman went into the final round leading by two shots at 12-under par but after bogeys at four, five and nine all hopes dried-up of just a second Tour title in eight-years when he found the water at 16 also for bogey.
The Australian duo of Jason Day and Marc Leishman never challenged over the four days and now need a huge lift heading into this week’s Presidents Cup showdown in New Jersey.
Day signed off for a 74 that included two birdies but also six bogeys to end his year in a share of 17th place at two-under par.
The Queenslander also dropped three places to be 18th on the overall FedExCup standings.
Marc Leishman never got out of first gear and clearly struggling both mentally and physically from the drain of leading start-to-finish a week ago in capturing the BMW Championship.
‘Leish’ posted a last round 72 that included 10 starting pars but then three bogeys and a closing birdie for a share of 24th place at three-over par.
The Victorian, with two victories in the years, ends his PGA tour season down two spots from the start of the week to No. 6 overall.