Although Xander Schauffele’s birdie on the short par-4 17th or the athletic ups and downs around par will ultimately end up as a decisive advantage, it was a bogey he made on a relatively easy par 5 that turned out to be his decisive One-shot win against Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia to win gold medal in golf competition at Tokyo Olympics.
Seemingly in control with a four-shot lead that was curved into one, Schauffele showed his tee shot on the par-5 14th at Kasumigaseki Golf Club in thick bushes and trees. Lucky to find the ball at all, Schauffele took an unplayable lie penalty drop and then was lucky enough to knock the ball out of the trees. His fourth was close to the green, but he saved a much-needed bogey with a timely putt.
Schauffele’s Odyssey O-Works Red 7 CH Mallet Putter was a key element throughout the tournament. The club has a “crank” hosel, which Schauffele explained to Golf Digest last fall.
“The hosel is interesting,” he said. “It creates a bit of tiptoe while many mallets are balanced. It helps swing your head a little easier. I’ve always wanted to be a Blade guy, but I never really got into it. This putter is an old friend of mine who I’ve been away from for a while, but I’m glad he’s with me on this trip again. It almost swings by itself and these two long white parallel lines in the back show you when you are not doing the right thing with your stroke and when you are doing it. “
Schauffele also changed golf balls at the Memorial earlier this year and switched to Callaway’s new Chrome Soft X LS, a ball designed to reduce the spin of the driver Schauffele was looking for. According to Callaway, Schauffele saw a spin dip of 200 rpm over the bag, which gave him the spin window he was looking for – especially on the wedge in the last hole that hit near the cup and spun back around the winning one Putt for the American.
What Xander Schauffele had in his pocket at the Olympics
Wedges: Callaway Jaws MD5 (52 degrees); Titleist Vokey SM6 (56 degrees); Titleist Vokey SM8 WedgeWorks (60 degrees)
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