USA golf star Xander Schauffele wins gold in men's individual stroke play

The American golfer finished on -18 to win the gold, with Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia taking silver on -17. 

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Xander Schauffele of the United States has won the Olympic men's individual stroke play competition after four rounds of action saw him finish on -18. The 27-year-old Californian ended the gold medal hopes of Slovakia's Rory Sabbatini with a nerve-free final putt, with the latter ending the final round on -17.

Schauffele was tied for the lead with Sabbatini with two holes to play. The American made birdie from 6 feet on the 17th hole to regain the lead. Then after a bad tee shot that forced him to play short of the water, he hit wedge to 4 feet and made the par to win.

“Just in shock,” Schauffele said. “I was trying so hard to just stay calm. ... But man, it was stressful. And I made that putt and it was just a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and just very relieved and happy.”

When asked whether he felt more pressure than at any other time in his career, the U.S. golfer said: "I don't know, equal or more. Probably more, in all honesty. For me, I really wanted to win for my dad. I am sure he is crying somewhere right now. I kind of wanted this one more than any other.

"First up, you are trying to represent your country to the best of your ability and then you add family stuff on top of that and, you know, I'm probably going to have a nice call with my grandparents tonight. I am sure they are back home, everyone is back home watching. I was feeling the love from San Diego and Las Vegas this whole time.

"I'm a little speechless right now, quite honestly."

Sabbatini set an Olympic record with a 61 to won the silver. C.T. Pan of Chinese Taipei, who closed with a 63, won the bronze in the playoff among seven countries that lasted four holes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report