Category Archives: Xander Schauffele

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2019 RBC Heritage Viewing Guide

Just days removed from one of the most inspired Masters Sunday finishes in recent memories the PGA Tour is back in business at the RBC Heritage. The always loved, yet still challenging, Harbour Town Golf Links welcomes some of golf’s hungriest competitors to the post-Augusta party. Boasting the smallest greens on tour, fairways and iron play will be at a premium this week in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Coming off one of the most difficult tournaments of the year didn’t stop eight of the top 20 in the Official World Golf Rankings from teeing it up this week. Included in this week’s field is the newly reclaimed World number one Dustin Johnson. The South Carolina native comes fresh off the heels of a tie for second at Augusta and looks to capitalize on his recent momentum.

With so much happening in Hilton Head this week Last Word on Golf has your guide to the course, featured opening round groups and how to watch and listen to all the action at the 2019 RBC Heritage.
The Course
While many are still buzzing about the coveted Masters green jacket, for the 132 competitors at Harbour Town Golf Links this week it’s all about the red tartan plaid sports coat befitting of the RBC Heritage winner. With the help of Jack Nicklaus, the course was designed in 1967 by the famous Pete Dye. This year-round public course has played host to various iterations of the Heritage Tournament since 1969.

In its 50th anniversary as a PGA Tour event, the RBC Heritage remains a scoreable tournament meant to test the nerves of even the most seasoned competitors. The 7,099 yard par-71 course plays shorter than the tour average of 7,200. Despite its length, Harbour Town makes up its’ difficulty in their greens but still holds a tournament course record of 20-under par set in 2009 by Brian Gay.

The grounds as a whole are comprised of multiple types of Bermuda grass from tee to green. With just 3,700 square feet of greens to work with Harbour Town truly hosts the smallest greens on the PGA Tour. Leading the field in strokes gained statistics, specifically proximity-to-hole and approach-the-green, will be a significant key to success this week.

Another important stat category to consider this week in Hilton Head will be greens in regulation. The difficult landing surfaces will make just getting on the greens a crucial commodity. 2014 winner Matt Kuchar currently leads not just the field but the entire PGA in greens in regulation percentage at 75.76%. Kuchar will go into the week with a valuable course history but as Satoshi Kodaira proved last year anyone can claim victory at Harbour Town.
Featured Groups
Three of the top-15 in FedEx Cup rankings will tee it up together over the first two days of play at the 2019 RBC Heritage. World number one Dustin Johnson will be joined by a fellow runner-up last week at the Masters in 25-year old rising superstar Xander Schauffele. This talented threesome will be rounded out by the 2019 WGC Match Play champion, and 2015 Heritage runner-up, Kevin Kisner. They will tee it up Thursday at 12:50 p.m. Eastern and Friday at 8:10 a.m. Eastern.

Before slipping late on Sunday, Francesco Molinari was just a few holes away from taking home his first green jacket. One man who knows something about winning at Augusta, despite his recent struggles, is 2015 Masters winner and three-time major champion Jordan Spieth. Both will be joined by fellow major winner, and 2013 Heritage runner-up, Webb Simpson. This trio of major champions get started opposite the previously mentioned featured group at 8:10 a.m. Thursday and 12:50 p.m. Friday.

In 2014 Bryson DeChambeau made his pro debut at Harbour Town and finished in a tie for fourth. Last year DeChambeau shot one his career low rounds before finishing in a tie for third place. This year he will be paired with former RBC Heritage winners Matt Kuchar (2014) and Satoshi Kodaira (2018) at 12:40 p.m. Thursday and 8:00 a.m. Friday.

With other talented threesomes including Tommy Fleetwood and former Heritage winners Graeme McDowell (2013) and Brandt Snedeker (2011) there’s a number of marquee match-ups to work through over the opening rounds. Don’t forget to check the official tee times to see when the top competitors tee it up Thursday and Friday.
Viewing and Listening Schedule
The 2019 RBC Heritage begins Thursday, April 18, and is scheduled to conclude Sunday, April 21. Coverage throughout the week can be found on PGA Tour Live as well as both radio and television broadcasts. Below are the dates, times and locations for your listening and viewing needs (all times Eastern Standard time and are subject to change).

Thursday April 18 – Round 1
PGA Tour Live 7:15 a.m. to 6 p.m.
PGA Tour Radio 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Sirius 208/XM 92)
Golf Channel 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Friday April 19 – Round 2
PGA Tour Live 7:15 a.m. to 6 p.m.
PGA Tour Radio 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Sirius 208/XM 92)
Golf Channel 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday April 20 – Round 3
PGA Tour Live 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
PGA Tour Radio 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Sirius 208/XM 92)
Golf Channel 1 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
CBS 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Sunday April 21 – Final Round
PGA Tour Live 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
PGA Tour Radio 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Sirius 208/XM 92)
Golf Channel 1 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
CBS 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.


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Sophomores Finau and Schauffele shine at 2019 Masters

The elation of Tiger Woods winning his fifth green jacket at the 2019 Masters has begun to subside. Well maybe not, and maybe it never will, but the roars have at least died down considerably since this past Sunday. However, the 15-time major winning veteran wasn’t the only player to showcase his talents at Augusta National this year.

While Woods was busy racking up the final round highlights six players were trying to make the most of just their second year playing at one of the most iconic courses in all of golf. Each of the Masters sophomores surprisingly made the cut in a place where experience is greatly favored. The only to finish over par was 2018 RBC Heritage winner Satoshi Kodaira (+6).

Haotong Li (-1)  and the talk of the tour the last two weeks, Canada’s Corey Conners (E) each managed a respectable top-50 finish. One year removed from missing the cut at his first attempt at a green jacket Patton Kizzire (-6) cracked the top-20 in a tie for 18th. But above the others stood two second-year, rising contenders.
Finau finds a rhythm at Augusta
In his maiden Masters voyage in 2018, Tony Finau had a memorable rookie outing for more ways than one. Every golf fan, die-hard or casual, remembers the images of the then 28-year old making a hole in one at the Wednesday Par-3 Contest. Then celebrating, dislocating his ankle, and popping it back into place by himself.

Remarkably, Finau shot 6-under par on his final round alone for the third lowest score of the day and a share of 10th place. Throughout his 2018 campaign on the PGA Tour he climbed to sixth in FedEx Cup rankings, finished top-10 in three of the four majors (including solo fifth at the U.S. Open) and made the most of his first of what is sure to be many more Ryder Cup appearances.

It seemed a logical prediction that with a year of momentum behind him, and two good ankles, Finau would be a force to be reckoned with around Augusta in 2019. Over his opening two rounds the Salt Lake City native stayed stead with below par rounds of 71 (-1) and 70 (-2). It wasn’t until Saturday when then Tongan-Samoan sensation truly broke out with an 8-under third round of 64.

Following his near record-breaking Saturday, Finau found himself in the final pairing Sunday with none other than Tiger Woods and Francesco Molinari. Scoring was difficult to come by early on in their closing 18 holes. Making only one birdie before dumping his tee shot into the water on the par-3 12th, the closing six holes were a completely different story.

The 14th ranked player in the Official World Golf Rankings closed with three birdies including back to back at 15 and 16. Finau’s ability to finish and bounce back after difficult holes helped propel him into a four-way finish for fifth place. Two years, two top-10 finishes and continued improvement each put Finau into the early discussion for a future green jacket sooner rather than later.
Schauffele starts slow but surges Sunday
In 2017 a San Diego State University standout by the name of Xander Schauffele won twice in his first year on the PGA Tour. Perhaps still the biggest win of his career to date came in September 2017 when he bested Justin Thomas by one stroke in the finale of the FedEx Cup playoffs at the Tour Championship. While Thomas still captured the FedEx Cup Championship it came as no surprise when Schauffele was announced as the 2017 PGA Rookie of the Year.

The 2018 Masters wasn’t a breakout first trip to Augusta by any means but Xander was still able to make the cut and finish tied for 50th. Compared to his rookie season 2018 was slow by Schauffele standards. However, in the 2018-2019 wraparound season, the reigning ninth-ranked golfer in the World has already secured two victories. His first of which came at the HSBC Champions event in a playoff with none other than fellow Masters sophomore standout Tony Finau.

The 2019 trek to Augusta National started rocky for the already four-time Tour winner. Schauffele turned in a first round 1-over par 73 but bounced back quickly on Friday shooting the low round of the day with a 7-under 65. A steady 2-under 70 on Saturday put him right back in the mix just five shots off the lead heading into Sunday’s final round.

Despite being 1-over through seven holes, a birdie at the par-5 8th began a surge of five birdies before finishing 12-under par for the tournament where the 25-year old, in just his second Masters, took a share of the clubhouse lead. As everyone knows that lead was ultimately overtaken by Tiger Woods but would still leave Schauffele finished in a three-way tie for second with major champions Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka (not a bad way to improve after an 8-over finish at his first Masters).

With both men still improving and bettering their game each and every tournament, both Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele still have plenty of Masters, and majors, moments ahead of them. Finau will be taking a brief break this week while Schauffele will tee it right back up at the RBC Heritage from Harbour Town Golf Links.


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