Xander Schauffele wins Tour Championship; Justin Thomas takes FedEx Cup

Xander Schauffele is first rookie to win Tour Championship; Justin Thomas takes FedEx Cup

ATLANTA — Xander Schauffele ended his rookie season by winning the Tour Championship. Justin Thomas ended the best season with the FedEx Cup.

Schauffele, a 23-year-old worried about keeping his PGA Tour card just over three months ago, swirled in a 3-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday for a 2-under 68 to beat Thomas by one shot and become the first rookie to win the Tour Championship.

Thomas had plenty of reasons to celebrate his runner-up finish. He capped off a season of five victories and his first major championship by claiming the $10 million bonus. He closed with a 66 after he narrowly missed a 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th.

It was the first time since 2009 that the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup were won by different players.

SOURCE: ESPN

GreensKeeper Revenge Tourney 2017 – SOLD OUT!

Stacy Lewis Wins for Houston, Donates LPGA Winning to Relief Effort

Lewis wins for Houston, donates $195K check

Birdies never meant so much to Stacy Lewis.

Every shot she hit at a flagstick Sunday, every putt she poured in at the Cambia Portland Classic did more than take her a step closer to the trophy at Columbia Edgewater Country Club.

They led to a dramatic victory that brought the promise of more help to the people suffering in her Houston hometown.

Lewis played brilliant, inspired golf breaking through to end her three-year winless spell. She won her 12th LPGA title for those suffering from the epic rainfall and deadly flooding that destroyed so many homes and businesses in Houston.

Lewis won after announcing before the tournament started that she was going to donate her winnings in Portland to the Hurricane Harvey relief effort.

Golf fans rallied behind her, cheering Lewis’ run at the $195,000 first-place check.

“We are going to be able to help people rebuild houses and get their homes back,” Lewis said. “That’s more important than any win.”

Lewis took a three-shot lead into Sunday and then held off a strong final-round charge by In Gee Chun. Lewis closed with a 3-under-par 69, finishing at 20 under for a one-shot victory over Chun (66). Lewis closed out with a two-putt par at the last.

In the end, Lewis was treated to some pleasant surprises. KPMG, one of her sponsors, announced it was going to match Lewis’ winnings in the relief effort. Also, Marathon Petroleum, yet another Lewis’ sponsor, informed her that it will be adding $1 million to her donation.

When Lewis walked off the green, her husband, Gerrod Chadwell, surprised her. He flew into Portland for the final round. She didn’t know he was there until he came out to hug her after that last putt fell.

Lewis’ family moved to suburban Houston when she was 11 years old. She grew up in The Woodlands. She and Chadwell bought a house in northeast Houston about a year-and-a-half ago.

It was spared from the ravages of the hurricane. So was her parents’ home, but she said the stories coming out of Houston moved her. She announced the day before the tournament started that she would donate her winnings from the week to the relief effort.

“When I said that, I had the goal of winning the tournament,” Lewis said. “You have to get a lot of things right, to go your way.”

Lewis said Saturday that she felt an unusual calmness as she played for Houston. She said Sunday she relinquished control to a higher power.

“Just kind of handed over control and said, `Take me, take me to the finish line. Let me know what happens, God,’” Lewis said. “It was just amazing how when you let go of the control like that how great you can play.”

Lewis was at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open last week when forecasts grew dire in her hometown. She stayed in close contact with Chadwell, who was back at their home. He is the University of Houston women’s golf coach. Lewis followed his struggles from afar as he worked to help his players when the campus shut down. He moved the team to he and Stacy’s home, and then he kayaked with the men’s golf coach into the team facility at the flooded Golf Club of Houston, where they salvaged clubs and office equipment.

“I was fine until Gerrod showed up, and then I started crying,” Lewis said. “Just to have him here, and have him support me, the last two and a half, three years … It’s been really frustrating at times.”

Lewis, 32, has endured some frustration trying to collect her 12th LPGA title. Since winning the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in June of 2014, she had gone 82 starts without a win. She played well in that run, stacking up 12 second-place finishes and winning more than $4 million, but she couldn’t break through to win until finding some special motivation in Portland.

“I’m excited to kind of get that monkey off my back and know I can do it, that I can hit the shots I need to and hit the putts when I need to,” Lewis said. “It’s nice to see yourself do that again.”

Lewis reigned as the Rolex world No. 1 for 25 weeks over portions of the 2013 and ’14 seasons. She was twice the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year, but that didn’t make her winless spell any easier. Lewis said her husband helped her deal with it.

“You go through all the emotions of finishing second when sometimes it’s your fault and sometimes it’s not, and things just don’t seem to ever go your way and you get really frustrated at times,” Lewis said. “Gerrod went through all of that with me, and it was probably as hard on him as it was on me. So just to have him here and get to share the win with him was pretty special.”

SOURCE: GOLF CHANNEL

Golf’s biggest stars shine during FedEx Cup playoffs

Golf’s biggest stars shine during FedEx Cup playoffs

NORTON, Mass. — The FedEx Cup playoffs have become the domain of superstars. The journeymen, the up-and-comers, the one-hit wonders — those guys must win during the regular season. Once it’s playoff time, only the biggest of big-time players prevail.

That might seem strange, considering it’s hardly the most important stretch of tournaments on the annual calendar.

Ask any elite professional golfer and he’ll quickly respond that major championships top his priority list. After that? The Players Championship — or for many European-grown players, the BMW PGA Championship, which is the flagship event overseas. Next on the list might be a virtual sudden-death playoff between the four World Golf Championship tournaments and the four FedEx Cup playoff events, though a $10 million carrot on the end of the stick might serve as an extravagant tiebreaker for the latter.

And yet, just check out the winners. The past nine playoff titles, in reverse order, have been captured by this list of who’s who: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Johnson (again), McIlroy (again), Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Day (again).

There’s an excellent chance that the 10th in a row will be won by someone with a similar pedigree.

Entering the final round of the Dell Technologies Championship, there are more than a half-dozen players within shouting distance of the lead who qualify. That doesn’t even include Paul Casey, who’s been a consistent performer for years, or Marc Leishman, Grayson Murray and Adam Hadwin, each of whom has already won a PGA Tour event this year and would be a worthy champion come Monday afternoon.

Nothing against those players, but the rest of the leaderboard at TPC Boston is a veritable amplitude of greatness.

There’s Justin Thomas, in his second start since winning his first major, tied for the lead. There’s Spieth, two months removed from his third major, just 2 strokes back. World No. 1 Johnson is 3 back; so is No. 5 Jon Rahm. At 4 back, Phil Mickelson still qualifies for this list on name brand alone. And Fowler and Justin Rose are another stroke behind.

One week after Johnson defeated Spieth in a playoff at the first playoff event, even more star-power is on display here in the heart of New England, though it leaves us pondering one important question: Why?

“I imagine there’s more at stake and maybe that just plays a role, and so a little bit more experience in the bigger events or having a chance to win bigger events brings it up,” Spieth offered after a third-round 66. “I think just a little more sense of calm with certain players that allows them to free up.”

That’s one theory — and it certainly holds some weight.

The best players aren’t usually worried about what they need to do in order to advance to the next playoff event. They’ve usually already won at least once or twice during the regular season, so they’re not seeking an elusive victory, all of which, as Spieth said, frees them up.

But other explanations are equally valid.

“We treat these four events as a major,” said Thomas, who posted an 8-under 63 on Sunday. “We are trying to be peaking this time. We are trying to be peaking come Atlanta. We try to take time off before the majors; I took a week off before the playoffs to try to get my game ready to get rested and kind of get going. Obviously, the PGA changed that a little bit, but for good reason. I don’t know. I would just say that we all want to win, but it’s kind of like trying to win a golf tournament in four events. We want to win and I guess it’s happened to be that way.”

Then there’s the idea that, when the cream of the crop really needs a big week, whether it’s to salvage their season or move into that all-important top-five entering the Tour Championship, they all have the talent to make it happen.

“Sometimes not being in a good position, back is up against the wall and knowing they need to make something happen,” Fowler explained of this rationale. “I think in a lot of cases, when that happens, not every time, but guys that are the best players in the world find a way to just get the job done. Not necessarily winning, but just a good, solid week. Maybe a good performance; hey, you need to finish top-five this week, and just find a way to go do it … It’s no coincidence, I don’t think.”

It might be no coincidence on Monday, either, if the winner of this tournament is a player who resides in the current top-10 or owns a few major championships to his name.

These playoff events have brought out the best in the best players over the past few years. Based on the leaderboard, it’s happening once again this week.

SOURCE: ESPN