Xander Schauffele wins gold for US in Olympic golf – Press Enterprise – California News Times


Doug Ferguson

Kawagoe, Japan (AP) — The four feet between his golf ball and the cup was all that separated Xander Schauffele from the Olympic gold medal, and he had no choice but to wander.

For Schauffele, it’s as special as a major, a championship that has recently avoided him many times in the Masters. For his father, the Olympic medal shared after his own desire ended in a horrific car accident that sacrificed his left eye.

Schauffele bowed his head, closed his eyes, and returned to the present.

“I just reminded myself, this is just 4 footers,” he said on Sunday. “All you have to do is make it. It’s not a big deal.”

He did it. That was a big deal.

Schauffele was under more pressure than necessary and won the prize he wanted in the conclusion of men’s golf, so nine players were still winning medals as the last three players measured the putt on the 18th green. rice field.

The most important putt was that of Schauffele. Schauffele had to lay up just before the surface of the water and rely on pars and 4-under 67 wedges and putts.

“It may put more pressure on me who wants to win this more than anything else,” he said. “And with my dad, he devoted most of his life to winning medals for quite some time, and it was robbed of him … it was more than just golf for me. And I’m really, really happy and lucky to sit here. ”

Rory Sabbatini set the Olympic record at 61 — his card has two bogies — which was almost enough for the gold sudden death playoffs. He was very happy to win the Slovak silver medal.

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bronze? Well, it was complicated.

Hideki Matsuyama ended his dream of adding gold to the Masters’ green jacket by missing too much putt in the back nine of the Kasumigaseki country club. He still had a 12-foot birdie putt for the bronze in the last hole. He also missed it and participated in a seven-player playoff among players from seven countries to win the final medal.

Matsuyama, along with Paul Casey, was eliminated in the first additional hole in the bogey.

Less than a month after recovering from COVID-19, the Japanese star took the lead in four holes and ended without a medal.

No gold, silver or bronze is used. He still has a green jacket.

Rory McIlroy, Mito Pereira and Sebastian Munoz bounced par on the third playoff hole. As a result, CT Pan and British Open Champion Collin Morikawa fired 63, and Pan won with an 8-foot par.

Stephen Schauffele saw the medal ceremony from the 18th green and shed tears behind his dark sunglasses when his son hung the medal around his neck.

His father was 20 when he was invited to train with the German national team as a decathlon. He was hit by drunk driving. The accident blinded him to one of his eyes and prevented him from participating in his beloved sport.

He eventually found golf and gave it to his son.

“For what happened to me, I promised myself that my kids would know how good they were whatever they were trying to do. In this case. It was golf, “said his father. “It was fueled by the fact that I never knew how good I was.”

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Schauffele, whose mother was raised in Japan, had grandparents in the city and was forbidden to see him under the ban of the audience, seemed to have won this all the time.

Sabatini finished with a birdie pumping his fist on the 18th hole. It put him one shot behind Schauffele. Schauffele still has 6 holes left and has two good scoring opportunities.

And everything changed in one swing.

Schauffele sent a tee shot to the bush on the 14th of par 5, just to the right of the fairway. He had to take a one-shot penalty just to get out, took three more shots to reach the green, and made a five-foot putt for the bogey.

Matsuyama took the lead with a blow behind.

Schauffele kept California cool and finally delivered two clutch pads.

“I was just trying hard to calm down,” Schauffele said. “But man, it was stressful, and I made that putt, and it was just a huge weight lifted from my shoulders.”

Sabatini was often happy with silver. Born in South Africa, he decided at the end of 2018 to become a Slovak citizen through his wife Martina, who ran a small Slovak golf federation. His wife served as a caddy for him this week.

That allowed him to compete in the Olympics, and Slovakia has now won his third medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Gold is used for women’s traps and silver is used for men’s kayaks. Sabatini was the first Slovak to compete in Olympic golf.

“The only purpose of it was to create the next generation of Slovak golfers,” Sabatini said. “It’s not always the best sport for kids to grow up and go out to play in Slovakia, so I hope we can inspire future Olympic athletes.”

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