Xander Schauffele thanks East Lothian fans for helping him grind out Scottish Open triumph
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On a glorious day at The Renaissance Club near North Berwick, the world No 11 from San Diego collected a $1.4m cheque thanks to a level-par final round of 70 to edge out fellow American Kurt Kitayama by one shot and now heads to St Andrews – he hasn’t played the Old Course before – for the 150th Open Championship as one of the favourites.
Schauffele has been unbeatable in recent weeks, winning the Travelers Championship on the PGA Tour just two weeks ago before beating a strong field at the unofficial J.P. McManus Pro-Am on Tuesday in Ireland.
But the 28-year-old American was relieved to get over the winning line for the third time in a row, finishing on seven-under-par to record his third victory of the year after a final round performance in East Lothian he reckoned was well below par.
“I’m not going to put make-up on the pig here,” he said. “It was a very average day. Probably my worst this week. I was ahead, I was behind, I was ahead, I was behind. I just kept my head down.”
Schauffele described it as “special” to win in Scotland and thanked the galleries for keeping him on track as the first co-sanctioned PGA and DP World Tour event went down to the final few holes.
“It's different playing over here,” he added. “You've got to play golf differently. The fans are incredible. They pushed me long all day and this is definitely a nice win for my team and myself.
“I was telling myself that, it doesn't really have to be pretty. It wasn't very pretty, unfortunately, but I got the ball in the hole and one better than everyone else.
“It was a grind. I was not playing very well. I came out of the gates very nicely and kind of hit a wall and was looking a bit sketchy for a little bit. It was nice to sort of steady the ship on the way in.”