Starting-strokes format again costs Xander Schauffele Tour Championship win

ATLANTA – For the second time in four years, Xander Schauffele played well enough to win the Tour Championship but went home a runner-up, albeit with $6.5 million in second-place winnings.

Despite a flawless 62 that included an opening-nine 30, Schauffele finished five shots behind Viktor Hovland, who completed a dominant fortnight with a 7-under 63 to claim the FedExCup.

“I’ll hold my head up high. It was the most fun I had losing in quite some time,” Schauffele said. “It’s such a weird feeling. I shot 62. I lost by five. Just kudos to [Hovland]. He played unbelievably well the last few weeks to get himself into this position and to really just put a cherry on top for himself and his team.”


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The Tour Championship moved to a starting-strokes format in 2019 that seeds players into the finale based on their position on the post-season points list. The FedExCup front-runner starts at 10 under followed by No. 2 on the list at 8 under down to even par for Nos. 26-30. Hovland began the week at No. 2 and 8 under, while Schauffele was 15th on the list and started 3 under.

Without the starting-strokes format, Schauffele would have finished 72 holes tied with Hovland at 19 under. It was a similar scenario in 2020 when Schauffele finished three shots behind winner Dustin Johnson but he would have won the event (at 15 under) had it not used the starting-strokes format.

Although Hovland won the FedExCup and its $18 million payday, he will split the first-place world ranking points with Schauffele. The world ranking doesn’t use the starting-strokes total to award points at the Tour Championship.

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