Schauffele beats Finau in Shanghai play-off

Mae Harvey
October 31, 2018

"When I was signing my card, I was like, "Oh, wow".

"It was a hard-fought match", Schauffele said, "and it's a bummer, because Tony and I get along really well. It was possibly an eight-under round with the chances that I had", said the world number three.

Finau, the overnight front-runner, surrendered the leaderboard to Rose with a shaky front nine at Shanghai's Sheshan International Golf Club.

Now the 19-year-old is not only playing on the weekend for the first time on the PGA Tour, he's in contention.

"It was a good finish".

Schauffele, who turned 25 on Thursday, mixed six birdies with two bogeys for a roller-coaster four-under 68 to rein in Finau, who finished with a 71.

Finau almost left that number at three, as he struggled to get into the scoring rhythm that had earned him a three-stroke cushion to begin the final day. Then, his 4-iron to the par-5 18th was too far right and tumbled down the hill and into the water. Reed took his penalty drop, and then tried to hit a slice over two portions of the water. He missed a 15-foot eagle attempt on the last hole.

The golf world expects Salt Lake City native Tony Finau to start winning a bunch of tournaments.

As he has done so many times before, though, he bounced back, with a clutch birdie on the par-5 18th keeping him in the playoff with Schauffele. Finau went into the face of the bunker on the left, had no choice but to lay up, and his third shot was 20 feet on the fringe.

"I'm looking forward to tomorrow", Finau, the American Ryder Cup player, told the European Tour's website after closing his round of 70 with three birdies. "Xander played incredible golf today". He posted a number and made birdie on a play-off hole when it counted. Hats off to him, he played nicely and deserved to win.

Phil Mickelson emerged as the victor of the first tournament in Mexico, while Bubba Watson won the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. His score got worse each day, but he'd done enough in the first two days to give himself a great chance at his first non-opposite field event win. Woods has won 18 of them. "I know he's going to win a lot soon, obviously, because he's playing so well".

Brooks Koepka, in his debut at No. 1 in the world, didn't deliver much excitement.

Rory McIlroy endured another tough day, including another triple bogey, as he slipped to eight over par in China. "You just look at the scoreboard". Seems like everyone fell apart. There was no chasing pack today, it was a three-horse race all day.

Thankfully for Schauffele, under the Rules, he was able to replace his ball where it had stopped was without a penalty.

Reed, 28, whose competitive attitude is often seen as cocky and abrasive, had raised hackles by criticising US team captain Jim Furyk's Ryder Cup pairings.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, the first player from Thailand to earn his PGA Tour card, finished in a tie for fourth at 8 under along with American Andrew Putnam.

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