Xander Schauffele pips DeChambeau by one shot to win US PGA Championship

<span>Xander Schauffele celebrates with the trophy after winning the US PGA at Valhalla Golf Club.</span><span>Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images</span>
Xander Schauffele celebrates with the trophy after winning the US PGA at Valhalla Golf Club.Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

It seemed appropriate that this staging of the US PGA Championship played out in the home city of Muhammad Ali. Viktor Hovland swung and missed at Xander Schauffele all afternoon. Bryson DeChambeau, with typical force, did likewise. Schauffele is golf’s nearly man no more. He withstood immense pressure to claim the Wanamaker Trophy.

Bare statistics disguise epic sporting theatre during what quickly became a three-horse sprint. Schauffele, at 21 under par, saw off DeChambeau by one, breaking the record score to par in majors by the same margin. Hovland, such an integral part of the Valhalla story, closed at minus 18.

Related: Xander Schauffele holds off Bryson DeChambeau to win US PGA Championship – live reaction

The level of golf and excitement were equally extraordinary. Neither Schauffele, Hovland nor DeChambeau had dropped a shot until the 10th. There, Schauffele needlessly used a wood from a fairway bunker and could not play himself back into position. His response was impressive; he made birdies at the 11th and 12th.

Hovland and DeChambeau played the front nine in 32. Schauffele had beaten that by one. On a course set up to deliver a birdie-fest, the drama was unrelenting. Pars were no use whatsoever in this environment.

The light should have gone out for DeChambeau on the 16th. Instead, a wayward drive clattered into trees and rebounded into the middle of the fairway. Within 10 minutes, DeChambeau was tapping in for an unlikely birdie. His trouble was, he still trailed Schauffele by one.

Hovland’s situation was identical, hence his visible angst after missing a great opportunity on the penultimate hole. The Norwegian could still have reached 20 under at the last but under-borrowed. Hovland, head clearly spinning, missed his short par attempt as well. And then there were two.

DeChambeau bounded from the final green while offering fist pumps and roars to the Valhalla galleries. He had not tied the lead at all on Sunday before his last birdie putt just – and only just – reached the hole. This was the final one of 64 shots from DeChambeau.

The ball was now firmly in the court of Schauffele, who had found a bunker from the tee at the 17th. The 30-year-old missed the green but rescued par. A birdie at the 72nd hole would secure a precious victory. To produce that, Schauffele would have to safely negotiate an uneven lie caused by striking his drive to the edge of a fairway bunker on the par five. He advanced the ball to within 35 yards of the cup, from where he left 6ft for the tournament. The emotional scene as Schauffele holed out demonstrated his earlier years of frustration. DeChambeau’s playoff dream was crushed but to his credit he made a point of congratulating the champion.

Related: Scottie Scheffler shakes off ‘shock and fear’ of arrest to stay in US PGA hunt

It would be a wild exaggeration to state Shane Lowry’s challenge evaporated on the 1st green but what transpired there looked significant. Sahith Theegala, playing alongside Lowry, rammed home a birdie putt from 50ft. Lowry had a tenth of that distance but missed. The Irishman, who had putted so wonderfully well for three days, suddenly displayed fallibility. Lowry did collect shots at the 3rd and 4th but cut an irate figure after failing to take advantage of the par-five 7th. Schauffele, DeChambeau and Hovland had pulled well clear by the time Lowry made his next birdie, on 14.

Collin Morikawa missed chance upon chance. A run of 14 straight pars was broken by a bogey at the 15th. The two-time major champion had to settle for his close up view of Schauffele’s march. The European challenge was generally strong, albeit Justin Rose finished bogey, bogey to sit alongside Lowry in sixth. Belgium’s Thomas Detry joined Morikawa in fourth at 14 under.

A tumultuous week for Scottie Scheffler ended with a 65, which earned the No 1 a tie for eighth. Scheffler admitted he was unsure about what happens to him off the course next; he remains charged with four offences, including assault of a police officer, after a bizarre incident on Friday morning upon entering Valhalla. Widespread speculation in Kentucky has suggested Scheffler’s charges will be dropped but the man himself appears none the wiser. The lingering image of this major will involve Scheffler in an orange jump suit.

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“I think I was still fairly tired,” Scheffler said of his fourth round. “I’m really proud of how I fought. I had a nice back nine to kind of make the week at least a little bit decent with the finish. It was obviously not what I was hoping for going into the week, but overall I’m proud of how I fought.”

Justin Thomas matched Scheffler’s aggregate. So, too, did Robert MacIntyre after an eagle at the last. The Scot will therefore return to the US PGA in 2025. Quail Hollow in Charlotte has a lot to live up to.