The PGA Championship has seen its share of first-time major champions. Can Xander Schauffele join that group this week?
Xander Schauffele has been very close to winning a major before, only to come up just short. Is this the week that the PGA Tour young stud gets it done by winning the PGA Championship?
Schauffele has played in 11 majors in his short PGA Tour career. In those 11 starts, Schauffele has finished in the top 10 on five occasions. That’s really strong from a player who first played in a major in 2017.
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That first major was the 2017 U.S. Open, where Schauffele tied for fifth place. Later that season, he tied for 20th at the Open Championship before missing the cut at the PGA Championship.
In 2018, his strong play in majors continued. After tying for 50th in the Masters, Schauffele was once again in the hunt at the U.S. Open, finishing in a tie for sixth. Later that summer, he was the runner-up at the Open Championship before finishing in a tie for 35th in the PGA Champinoship.
Last season, Schauffele tied for second at the Masters, tied for 16th at the PGA Championship, tied for third at the U.S. Open and tied for 41st at the Open Championship.
This season, Schauffele has done everything but win on the PGA Tour. In 14 starts, he has made 13 cuts, with 12 top 25 finishes. Included in those are five top 10s.
He was solo second at the WGC-HSBC Champions in November and tied for second at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January. He tied for third at the Charles Schwab Challenge in June and, last week, tied for sixth at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
The PGA Championship is also a site where first-time major winners emerge. Out of the last 11 PGA Championships, seven of the winners were first-time major winners. That list includes the likes of Martin Kaymer, Jason Dufner, Jason Day and Justin Thomas.
Now, with the PGA Championship being played in his home state of California (at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco), Schauffele is poised to take the next step and get that first major title. And, his ability to manage the course and make key putts will be the difference this week as Schauffele wins the first major of his career. It likely won’t be the last for the talented 26-year-old.