New York: Tokyo Olympic champion Xander Schauffele birdied the final hole on Sunday to win the Travelers Championship, holding off Sahith Theegala for his sixth career US PGA Tour title.
The 28-year-old American fired a two-under par 68 to finish on 19-under 261 after 72 holes at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut.
That was enough to defeat Theegala, who fell from the lead with a closing double bogey, and fellow American J.T. Poston, who shared second on 263.
It marked the first time Schauffele had converted a 54-hole PGA lead into a triumph, but that happened only after Theegala seized the lead with a birdie at the 17th - and then found a bunker off the 18th tee to set up a nightmare finish.
“It’s incredible,” Schauffele said. “I was looking at birdie just getting into a playoff. I saw a little hiccup for Sahith and I knew I had to get it into the cup.”
World number 15 Schauffele captured his fifth US PGA title in April at the pairs event in New Orleans with pal Patrick Cantlay.
Schauffele had not won a solo tour event since the 2019 Tournament of Champions.
US amateur Michael Thorbjornsen fired his second consecutive 66 to finish fourth on 265, the top amateur showing in tournament history.
“It was surreal. It was crazy,” he said. “I think it was louder than last week at the US Open. It was special. I felt pretty comfortable out there.”
World number 120 Theegala settled for his best PGA finish, improving on his share of third from February’s Phoenix Open.
Schauffele and Theegala were deadlocked on 18-under with two holes remaining.
Theegala then sank a birdie putt from just inside 11 feet at 17 to seize the lead at 19-under, pumping his fist in celebration while Schauffele watched stoically from the fairway.
While Schauffele two-putted from 25 feet for par at 17, Theegala found a fairway bunker near a high slope at the par-4 18th and tried to blast out.
Instead, Theegala left the ball in the sand at his feet before punching it out into the fairway with his third shot and pitching to 12 feet from the cup.
His bogey putt lipped out off the left edge and he tapped in for double bogey, falling one adrift of Schauffele, who was comfortably in the 18th fairway.
“I knew it was going to be close to the lip, but not that close,” said Theegala. “Never in a million years did I think I would allow myself to blade it. All I had to do was chunk it.
“I had room there. I just straight bladed it. And then from there, got to try and make five. I nearly bladed it again.”
Schauffele dropped his approach just beyond three feet from the cup and sank the clutch putt for the triumph.
'Going to hurt'
“I know, and all the guys out here know, how hard it is to win and how few opportunities there are,” said Theegala. “That’s why something like this is really going to hurt.”
Schauffele made bogey at the second but answered with birdie putts of 15 feet at the par-4 fourth and just inside 11 feet at the par-5 sixth.
He rolled in a 26-foot birdie putt at the par-3 11th but was way left off beyond a cart path at the 12th tee on his way to a bogey.
Theegala, who sank a 10-footer to birdie the first and a 24-footer to birdie the ninth, made a tap-in birdie at the par-5 13th and sank a four-foot birdie putt at the par-4 15th to match Schauffele for the lead.