No last round regrets for Schuaffele after Sunday surge at Augusta
Xander Schauffele rallied late on Sunday at Augusta with four straight birdies, but a triple of the par three 16th crushed is comeback bid at the Masters.
Xander Schauffele has no regrets after a rare triple-bogey ended his Masters hopes in another close call at a major tournament.
Schauffele – runner-up at the 2019 Masters and 2018 Open Championship, having also finished third at the U.S. Open almost two years ago – had to settle for a share of third position alongside Jordan Spieth on Sunday.
The former PGA Tour Rookie of the Year closed within two shots of eventual champion Hideki Matsuyama before losing his way on the 16th hole at Augusta, where he ended up finishing four strokes adrift.
A run of four consecutive birdies heaped pressure on Matsuyama, but Schauffele's pursuit of a maiden major collapsed when the American – seven back at the 12th tee – found water before sending his next shot into the crowd.
Triple on 16 ended a four birdie stretch
An ill-timed triple-bogey sent Schauffele down to equal third – it was his first triple-bogey in a major championship, a run of 1,042 holes.
"I hit a perfect eight iron. It was 184 yards. I can hit my eight iron 180 yards out here," Schauffele said when asked about the 16th tee. "I turned it right to left. The wind was into left to right. It got smoked and eaten up. You could kind of see it. The ball hovered there.
"So I was chasing. I was still two back. Hideki is a great left to right iron player. I figured, if I hit it close, he was going to hit it right on top. I was in full chase mode, so I have no regrets from that aspect."
Schauffele added: "I never gave up. It was pretty wild. Kind of a weird start. It almost took the edge off. I knew the first through five, if you could be even par, it would be a really good score. I imagined to play five the way I did all week, which is five-over for the week or even worse.
"I fought hard. I felt like I made it exciting at the end, hit a really good shot on 16. I committed to it. I hit a perfect shot. We thought it was down left to right. It was not down left to right, and the rest is history."
After his latest close call, Schauffele said: "It's another lesson to put in the memory bank. 2019, I had a rookie hiccup moment of, oh, my goodness, I'm leading the Masters. This year I was chasing. I'm playing better than I was in 2019, and I made a mistake on shot selection and wind.
"If you look at my second shot after I dropped, I hit a nine iron that went downwind. I think the way that thing flew, it flattened out and flew 160 yards. Austin and I just kind of painfully laughed at each other and said, 'Well, I guess it switched again'. It is what it is. I think I just need to hit a different shot in there."
"It's hard to win out here," the 27-year-old said. "Especially at this tournament. 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 eight-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."