After finishing second for the second straight event and seventh time since his last victory, Xander Schauffele was licking his wounds as he departed TPC Scottsdale.
He and Jordan Spieth had entered Sunday’s final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open tied for the lead, but they shot 71 and 72, respectively, and watched as Brooks Koepka fired a closing 6-under 65 to end a lengthy losing streak of his own.
“Brooks is a great example for me,” said Schauffele, who finished 18 under, a shot back of Koepka. “He hasn’t been in great form, missed few cuts, and comes out and wins, so there is something to that, something to his recipe, and he’s definitely figured it out.”
Schauffele and Spieth were slow out of the gates Sunday, playing in “slow and stale air.” Schauffele didn’t make a birdie until the ninth hole, and his three birdies from No. 15 onward were negated by a costly water ball and bogey at the par-4 17th hole. Spieth made just two birdies.
“On the last hole I joked with Jordan, ‘We did it again,’” said Schauffele, who last held the 54-hole with Spieth at the 2018 Open at Carnoustie, where they shot 74 and 76, respectively. “Wasn’t quite the pair of 42s on the front nine like the British, but you know, final groups, I’ve been in a couple, not many, not enough, they get a little nervous. People kind of play a little safe. Not hitting their putts hard enough. It wore on our whole group. Putts were lipping out, miss-clubbing, kind of weird shots, and it just wasn’t the same feel the first couple days.”
Added Schauffele: “I’m disappointed. I heard Jordan say that me and him could have made it a two-man race. … Winning is tough. I’ll lick my wounds and come back.”