Xander Schauffele's back-nine rally, Masters hopes end in pond at 16

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Brentley Romine
·2 min read
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AUGUSTA, Ga. – In the span of a few hours, Xander Schauffele went from kind of in it to essentially out of it, and back in it to, yup, definitely out of it.

“I never gave up,” Schauffele said after tying for third at the 85th Masters Tournament. “It was pretty wild, I'd say.”

Schauffele began Sunday at 7 under, tied with three others and four shots back of leader Hideki Matsuyama. Playing alongside the eventual champion, Schauffele quickly plummeted to 4 under after six holes. He became an afterthought, that is until he did his best Undertaker impression and popped back into contention.

When Matsuyama deposited his second shot at No. 15 into the water and made bogey to drop to 12 under, Schauffele rattled off his fourth straight birdie to pull within two shots with three holes to play.

Let’s make 1. That’s what Schauffele was thinking as he stepped on the tee with 184 yards to the cup at the par-3 16th hole. One water ball and six shots later, Schauffele’s ended his green-jacket hopes with an untimely triple bogey.

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Matsuyama ended up sliding to 10 under and a one-shot victory over Will Zalatoris. Schauffele, who closed in even par with seven birdies, was 7 under along with Jordan Spieth.

“It's hard to win out here, especially at this tournament,” Schauffele said. “I think I'll throw 16 in the memory bank. I think a lot of great shots into 16 are left to right, high cuts into that mound. I've been hitting a good high cut all week. I just didn't think of it at that time. I hit like a hard draw 8-iron, and it wasn't the shot. 

“Moving forward, just kind of throw it in the memory bank. I'm going to keep collecting thoughts. Hopefully, I keep coming back here for years to come, and the goal is to win one day.”