In a battle of best friends, Xander Schauffele defeated vanishing Patrick Cantlay in the 2022 Travelers Championship. It was his second victory in the year and sixth in his career, as this entry into the winner’s circuit marked the first time for a “normal” win in nearly five years for Schauffele.
His first PGA Tour win at the 2017 Greenbrier Classic, Shaveli has since gone on to add three limited field wins, a collegiate event title with Cantlay, and of course an upcoming Olympic gold medal last summer. However, none of these events included a cut or field for nearly 150 other competitors.
Nicknamed the inability to finish the deal, Shaveley did this week in Cromwell, Connecticut, turning a 54-hole lead for the first time in his career. Simply brilliant from the start, the 28-year-old’s persistence has finally been rewarded in the form of his first PGA Tour singles title since the 2019 Championship.
Shovelli kicked off the Travelers Championship with consecutive stealth-free runs of 7-under 63, opening a five-stroke fringe heading into the weekend. The Schauffele, which tied Scottie Scheffler’s Masters performance to the top 36 holes of 2022, started soaking up some water during the third round.
With Cantlay closing the gap to one after Saturday’s game, it was reasonable to believe that he would be the best player on the 2021 PGA Tour who would thrive amid the pressures of the final round.
But with his drop to 4 through the first 12 holes, it was Shaveli who kept confirming his sanity level. While there were shallow moments throughout the tour – and even falling off the lead late in the round – it was Shaveli’s persistence that shined.
Unfortunately for Schauffele, persistence is not often rewarded in terms of prizes on the PGA Tour. We hear players discussing price hikes several times a year in the hope that it will be enough for a victory or two. Sunday was one of those rare occasions when Shaveli’s steady hand outperformed the constant movement and strain of his closest rival, Sahith Thigala.
Schauffele’s career might be the perfect packaging for this. He’s always been called a bridesmaid, never a bride, but this particular week, his persistence was enough to allow him to walk down the aisle and add a #6 win to his PGA Tour resume. Grade: A +
Here are the remaining scores on the Leaderboard for the 2022 Travelers Championship
T2. Sahih Thigala (-17): He jumped to the lead solo after Flying in Round 4 17 even though he looked disheveled for most of the final round. Missing some convertible bird chances and dropping clubs, Theegala serially entered the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year conversation. With all the attention on Davis Riley and Cameron Young, Tegala has now struggled seriously to claim victory on three separate occasions. If he’s not a bad decision on the 72nd hole, he’s probably the winner of the PGA Tour. Eventually, resulting in a double bogey, he’ll try to put that pain aside, as a strong finish to his junior campaign could propel him to the Tour Championship that holds pioneer Ramifications. Grade: A
T13. Webb Simpson (-10): After dealing with neck and shoulder injuries over the winter, Simpson is finally back to normal. This marks his first 15th place finish since the RSM classic race in November, and he could not have come at a better time. On a narrow range within the FedEx Cup top 125 rankings to start the week, Simpson’s performance in Connecticut has the potential to propel him to a quick finish on his season. Grade: B +
T13. Patrick Cantlay (-10): Mr. Consistency was anything but Sunday, as Cantlay struggled early and often in the final round. The PGA Tour of the Year of the Year of the PGA Tour player of the year of the year of the year of a bogeys, three birdies and the equation of his outside was unable to gather himself when he saw his impotence in front of Schauffele grows to four. Adding one inexplicable error after another, Cantlay’s final round score eventually added up to 6 over 76. Still without a solo win in 2022, Cantlay’s season has been riddled with looming errors, with this Travelers Championship added to that total. He is expected to play in the Scottish Open a week before the Open, with his best result coming on his debut in 2018. B degree
T19. Rory McIlroy (-9): Starting the week with 8-under-62, McIlroy was in full command of his game and his 22nd win felt a check. Turning 13 after a volley in Round 3 of 11 on Friday, the Northern Irishman began to wilt, returning home in the second round. This downhill spiral would continue over the weekend, but after four straight weeks of competition, I felt exhaustion was inevitable. Next time we’ll see McIlroy be at the JP McManus Pro-Am a week before the 150th Open in St Andrews. Grade: C +
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