Justin Thomas claims FedEx Cup, Schauffele wins Tour Championship


Justin Thomas secured the season long FedEx Cup title, as PGA Tour rookie Xander Schauffele picked up his second win of the year at the Tour Championship. 

The 23-year-old birdied the final hole to get to 12-under-par and deny Thomas a chance to win the tournament in a play-off, besting the new FedEx Cup champion by a single shot.

Schauffele came out on top as the best 30 performers on the PGA Tour this competed for a chance to win the final event of the season, but it was the rookie who tamed East Lake on his first outing there - putting himself third in the FedEx Cup standings behind JT and Spieth.  

He had proved already this year that he was capable of producing his best when it mattered, having won The Greenbrier Classic earlier in July, but the odds certainly looked stacked against him.

Just last week in Chicago Schauffele had needed four birdies and an eagle over his last six holes to put himself in to a tie for 20th, which allowed him to advance to the final stage of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup play-offs as the 26th qualifier. But in the history of the Tour Championship just 11 rookies have participated in the season's final event - and none had ever won it.

"Five months ago, two months ago, three hours ago I wasn't really expecting a whole lot,” said Schauffele as he sat next to a replica of Bobby Jones’ famous Calamity Jane putter, the new trophy given to the winner at East Lake. “To be sitting here with this bad boy right here is very special.”

Justin Thomas wins the FedEx Cup

JT started the day five shots back of the leader Paul Casey, but as Casey fell down the leaderboard as he has so many times this season, Thomas began to charge. 

Two birdies on the front nine were just as impressive as several testing par saves that saw him make the turn at nine-under-par, but he was still a few shots adrift of the leaders and Spieth still had a chance to win the same trophy he had won in 2015. 

A birdie on the 12th was followed by a dropped shot on 13, but with back-to-back birdies on the 15 and 16th holes, Thomas suddenly found himself tied for the lead with Schauffele. 

But a wild drive on the 18th hole minimised Thomas' chances of gaining another shot on the par-five final hole, and as he settled for a par, it was Schauffele who took the opportunity on 18 to secure the title with a birdie. 

For Thomas, the FedEx Cup was just the icing on the cake to a tremendous season. With five victories, a major title, a 59 and a record-breaking 63 in the US Open he'd already almost certainly wrapped up the player of the year accolade - but of the season long title he was the most deserving. 

However for Thomas, he said it was a strange experience to win something without physically winning a tournament. 

"Feels very weird," Thomas said. "It's odd getting something so tremendous, one of my best achievements in my career without winning a golf tournament, so it feels different, but it's still great."

Spieth full of praise for Thomas

During Sunday's final round the projected leader of the FedEx Cup see-saw'd between Spieth and Thomas so often that at one point if felt impossible to call. 

Although he performed much better on Sunday to finish T7 in the tournament and 2nd in the FedEx Cup, missed birdie chances cost Spieth a chance at the title - although he said that he felt that JT was truly the deserved winner this year. 

"It was a great season, if I could repeat it every year for the rest of my career I certainly would," Spieth said "I knew after the 10th hole that I could win the FedEx Cup and they just didn't quite go my way.

"I think it's rightfully so that he (Thomas) wins the season-long race this year. Five wins with a major championship and you'd like the FedEx Cup to go to the most deserving player for the entire year and I think that's him.