Tour Championship 2017: Xander Schauffele Wins, Justin Thomas Clinches FedEx Cup

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2017

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Xander Schauffele of the United States reacts as he wins during the final round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 24, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Xander Schauffele won the 2017 Tour Championship. But for the first time since 2009, a victory in the season's final tournament did not result in a FedEx Cup triumph.

Instead, Justin Thomas finished out his sterling 2017 campaign by taking home the FedEx Cup after earning a second-place finish in the Tour Championship. Thomas (-11) was one stroke behind Schauffele (-12), a 23-year-old playing his first full year on the PGA Tour.

Schauffele finished in third place in the FedEx Cup after entering the event 26th. He has earned his first two PGA Tour wins this season.

Jordan Spieth, who entered leading the FedEx Cup standings, dropped to second after tying for seventh at seven under overall.

"J.T. obviously is very well deserving of winning the FedExCup," Spieth said after the round, per the Associated Press (via PGATour.com). "Not winning a playoff event, I almost cheated my way into winning the FedExCup when he really deserved it."

Thomas is the third FedEx Cup winner to not bring home the Tour Championship. The PGA has adjusted its points system to incentivize the last tournament being its most meaningful.

"It's awesome just because I feel like I played so well this year," Thomas said, per James Corrigan of The Telegraph. "There were life-changing events that just kind of ended with another kind of life-changing thing for me. To just have my name on the trophy with the rest of those guys is pretty awesome."

Schauffele shot a two-under 68 in the final round, taking advantage of struggles by leader Paul Casey and keeping a level head with Thomas and others charging. He played the front nine even before nailing a five-foot birdie on No. 13 and hitting a 50-foot eagle putt within two feet for a tap-in birdie on the 18th.

"My hands were shaking so much, I was so nervous," Schauffele said, per Reuters. "I was very embarrassed. I don't want to win with a huge all-round lip-in."

Casey, who opened the day at 12 under with a two-stroke lead, shot three over to finish alone in fifth place. His lone birdie against four bogeys came on No. 18, as he hit just half of his fairways and struggled on the putting surface.

Thomas' triumph ends a brilliant 2017 campaign that saw him win four calendar-year tournaments, including the PGA Championship. He should be a lock for Player of the Year honors.

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