Tokyo Olympics: American Xander Schauffele Wins Golf Gold, Rory Sabbatini Gets Surprise Silver

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Xander Schauffele finished on 18-under par 266 after carding a 67.© AFP

Xander Schauffele won the men’s golf tournament at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday by one shot from surprise silver medallist Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia. The American world number five finished on 18-under par 266 after carding a 67 while veteran Sabbatini, 45, shot a stunning, course-record 10-under par final round of 61. Overnight leader Schauffele got off to a fast start with and had reached 18-under by the turn, but struggled to extend his advantage on the back nine. He dropped a shot at the par-five 14th to fall into a tie with Sabbatini, the clubhouse leader, but restored his slender advantage at the 17th.

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A wayward drive at the difficult 18th left him with only a lay-up out of trees before he got up and down under immense pressure from 80 yards to secure the gold.

The South African-born Sabbatini came into the Olympics ranked 204 in the world and with little form this year, having missed his last four cuts on the US PGA Tour.

He had not won an event on the PGA Tour since the 2011 Honda Classic and his best showing in a major was tied second at the 2007 US Masters.

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He is one of only 41 athletes in the Slovakian team and the only golfer.

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There is a seven-man sudden-death playoff for bronze in two groupings going back to the 18th tee, the first comprising British Open champion Collin Morikawa, C.T. Pan of Taiwan, Mito Pereira of Chile and Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz.

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The second group brackets home favourite and US Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, former world number one Rory McIlroy and Britain’s Paul Casey.

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