Xander Sc Chaudele wins gold in Tokyo with clutch par on last hole – .

Xander Sc Chaudele wins gold in Tokyo with clutch par on last hole – .

Once it was announced that golf at the Olympics would be a no-cut small-field event, it should have been obvious that Xander Sc Chaudele would thrive. The American won gold on Sunday with a closing 68 at Kasumigaseki Country Club to cut Rory Sabbatini with one stroke on a wild golf Sunday outside of Tokyo.

Sabbatini took out a few groups ahead of ScHotele and shot a shocking 10-under 61 to put electricity into what looked like a ScHotele rout at the start of the day. Sabbatini’s shake – competing under the Slovak flag with his wife on the sack (more details below) – at the top of the table combined with the difficulty of closing a golf tournament seemed to affect ScHotele late in the day.

After a faultless first nine, ScHotele started to slip a little before the end. A tee shot that nearly went out of bounds and ended with an iron thinning in the forest because his club was wrapped around a vine resulted in a bogey 6 on the 14th par-5 hole. It could have been a lot worse. He picked up that shot on No.17 with a top-down clutch from a bunker on the green for a birdie, then hit the shot of his life on 18. From 98 yards to 3 feet for a gold medal when it was absolutely necessary to have it to avoid a play-off with Sabbatini.

“Probably more [pressure in this event than other ones] in all honesty, ”ScHotele told Golf Channel after winning for the first time in over two years. “I really wanted to win for my dad. I’m sure he’s crying somewhere right now. I sort of wanted this one more than any other. “

ScHotele’s father Stefan was once an Olympic hopeful for Germany in the decathlon before being hit by a drunk driver and losing sight in one of his eyes. He now trains his son, also Olympic champion.

The win is the most important of ScHotele’s ever-growing CV. Four of his five wins as a professional have come in similar small field, cupless tournaments including the Tour Championship, WGC-HSBC Champions and the Tournament of Champions. This one, however, will outlast the rest and could be rocket fuel for what has been an incredibly successful career to date, despite no major league wins.

This is for later, however. For now, ScHotele is pleased to win a gold medal in the United States in the second round since golf was re-established as an Olympic sport in 2016 at the Rio Games (Matt Kuchar won bronze for the United States in 2016). ScHotele was one of the most vocal players this week on how monumental a return of a medal to his home country would be, and I thought about what he said on Tuesday after his victory on Sunday.

“I obviously think winning a gold medal and representing our country is a big deal, otherwise we wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you and answering these questions,” said ScHotele.

“If you look at other… athletes, track and field, swimming, judo, any other extreme athlete, this is the pinnacle. It is the greatest and most honorable thing you can do for your country. For golf it’s so cool and so new and luckily [teammate] Colin [Morikawa] and I’m young, and so when we talk to you it’s exciting, it’s very cool. This is something we want to do, win a gold medal and properly represent the United States. And, like I said, we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t feel that way and heeded it. “

ScHotele has his gold medal, and although it is a similar style tournament to most of the others he has won, he did it differently than before. This is the first time he has led from the front and closed a 54-hole lead. It is significant in any case, especially in an Olympics with an overwhelming weight hanging over you, unlikely in the form of a 61 from a man who has just acquired the citizenship of the country that he represented a few years ago.

ScHotele’s gold medal is big business for a myriad of reasons. Stopping a tournament he knows means the world to his father. Looking down for a gold medal with one of the best shots he’s ever managed. Retain all comers by winning ahead. It may not have been seen by many people in the United States, but those who did will remember that he won it and comment he won it for a very long time. Note : A+

Here is the rest of our notes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Rory Sabbatini (2e) : Sabbatini set the tournament on fire on Sunday ahead of the leaders with what 61 included two bogeys and one of the first punches in golf history on the last hole (the video below is amazing). Sabbatini has been talking all week about the shock he wanted to give golf in Slovakia (although he is from South Africa, he has dual citizenship as his wife, who was caddy for him this week, is Slovak). He didn’t end up winning gold, but taking Slovakia’s third medal at these Olympics is a big deal, and shooting him a 61 in the middle of the night (and a better 57 ball with his playing partner CT Pan!) Is one of them. I will remember this for a long, long time. Note : A+

Panoramic CT (T3): Pan finished T3 with six other golfers and won a playoff against them all on the fourth hole of the bronze medal playoffs when Collin Morikawa’s second shot blocked a bunker. Normally, it would be remarkable if Pan beat Morikawa, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama and Paul Casey in the playoffs, but in this case, it’s really amazing. Why? Pan started his tournament with a 74 Thursday was better than two golfers. He finished 66-66-63 just to advance to the playoffs and ended up winning a medal. Incredible stuff. Note : A

Hideki Matsuyama (T3): Matsuyama was one of those golfers Pan beaten in the insane seven-a-side playoffs. He started out slow but closed hard and putt to avoid the playoffs altogether on the 72nd hole. He missed it and pulled out of the playoffs on the first hole, but his performance in his home country when everyone expected so much from the Masters champion was inspiring enough. Especially since this was his first event in a month after testing positive for COVID-19 and missing the last major of the year. Note : A

Rory McIlroy (T3) : McIlroy lost in the playoff seven for a bronze medal on the third hole of the playoffs, but he’s been formidable both on and off the course all week. He’s given a ton of great quotes – and has talked a lot about how he needs to be more relaxed on the course and more athletic with his putting – but he’s the one I think will stay with me the longest.

“I have to give things a chance,” he said of his skepticism of the Olympics before entering. “I was talking to my wife last night and telling her that maybe I shouldn’t be so skeptical. But I think I need to do a better job of just giving things a chance, experiencing things, not erasing them at first glance. It’s kind of a trait of mine, but how glad I’m wrong. I was wrong in the Ryder Cup, I was wrong this week and I’m happy for that, I’m happy to say it. Note : A

I am Sungjae (T22): I gave him a great race on the weekend but ended up failing because of a slow start in the first two laps which forced him to overtake at the weekend. He (and Si Woo Kim) are notable because winning one of three medals this week would have exempted them from compulsory military service in the future. They are both young enough to have another shot at the 2024 Olympics or even the 2028 Olympics, but with so many golfing people rooted for them in Tokyo, it was a huge disappointment to see them fail (Kim completed T32). Note : B+

Justin Thomas (T22): If this event had lasted seven or eight days, JT might have won in the end. After opening 71 on Thursday in which he made 18 consecutive runs, he improved his score every day and finished with a 65 on Sunday. He was one of the huge group of players who were overwhelmed by the quality of their Olympic experience.

“It’s so different,” Thomas said. “It was cooler than I thought. I’m more proud to be here than I thought. I thought I would be proud, but on the first day or two, I immediately found out that this was the coolest thing I’ve ever been a part of.

“The Ryder Cup is cool, the Presidents Cup is cool, but it’s so different. I grew up watching the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup, the majors, and I never grew up watching that, so no one has ever been able to relay or say how I felt about being an Olympian. , especially a golfer. I never hit putts when I was 8 or 10 on the green to win the Olympics and win a gold medal. So I think when you don’t have the capacity to dream something, when you get here… sometimes it can take you by surprise, and it definitely went beyond that. ” Category B-

Below is a recap of the entire last round of wild golf in Japan.


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