Xander Schauffele wins Olympic Gold Medal after thrilling finish in Japan

Xander Schauffele fought off a rallying Rory Sabbatini and a host of other players to win the Olympic gold medal for the United States.

Matt Chivers's picture
Sun, 1 Aug 2021
Xander Schauffele wins Olympic Gold Medal after thrilling finish in Japan

Xander Schauffele has won the Olympic gold medal for the men's golf event, after a final-round 67 was enough to seal victory on an exciting day in Japan.

After making a crucial birdie on the 17th hole to move one shot ahead of Rory Sabbatini, Schauffele made a nerveless up-and-down from 100 yards on the 72nd hole to seal the victory. 

It is the World No. 5's first win since the Sentry Tournament of Champions in 2019, but now he is one of very few golfers to be able to say that he now owns an Olympic gold medal.

Schauffele's victory is particularly special as it is a culmination of all the years that he and his father and coach Stefan have worked on over the years.

Growing up in Germany, Stefan was a track and field athlete but at the age of 20, he was hit by a drunk driver which left him blind in his left eye. Stefan moved to America and found golf and has now gone on to coach his own son to an Olympic gold medal.

The American made the perfect start on Sunday with two birdies on his opening two holes, opening up a three-shot lead on the field. He made the turn in 4-under-par to lead by two shots.

While Schauffele was going about his work, Sabbatini was flying the flag for Slovakia in the final round. The 45-year-old carded an incredible score of 10-under-par to post a clubhouse lead of 17-under-par.

Sabbatini started seven shots behind the leader, but now he had a great chance of a gold medal. Schauffele stumbled on the 14th hole but he managed to escape with a bogey when things could have been much worse. This took him level with Sabbatini on 17-under-par.

After a great birdie on the 17th hole, the four-time PGA Tour winner hit a poor drive on the 72nd hole and was forced to chip out into the fairway.

With ice running through his veins, Schauffele sent his ball sailing towards the hole and spinning back to three feet for the gold medal at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

Sabbatini settled for the silver medal, while C.T . Pan of Chinese Taipei won a 7-man playoff for the bronze medal.