Woodland stays in front with a big putt at Kapalua

Getty Images

Getty Images

The Plantation Course has some the widest fairways and largest greens on the PGA Tour primarily because of the winds that buffet the layout, like those that gusted to 35 miles per hour for the first three days at this year's Sentry Tournament of Champions.

It was a tough loss for Woodland, who has yet to win in stroke play the three times he has held the 54-hole lead.

Xander Schauffele tied the Plantation course record with an 11-under 62 on Sunday, and he needed every shot to beat Gary Woodland by one shot and win the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He carded a one-under par 72 that left him tied for fourth, eight shots off the pace.

"Well it means I get to come back, which is even better", Schauffele said of qualifying for next year's Tournament of Champions with the victory. "I didn't press at all, I was very patient". "I gave myself plenty of chances, I hit most of the fairways, I hit most of the greens, just couldn't get the ball to drop".

Failing to deliver in the final round after playing himself into contention is becoming a bit of a familiar refrain for McIlroy.

It's the seventh time since last January that McIlroy has played in the final group and failed to win the tournament.

After three rounds of decent putting McIlroy ranked 27th in the field Sunday in Strokes Gained: Putting making just 31-feet of total putts. "I didn't have a bogey today and I can go out and make that a goal tomorrow", he said.

Schauffele won the Greenbrier Classic and the Tour Championship to lock up the PGA Tour's Rookie of the Year award in 2017, finished second in The Open last year and won the WGC-HSBC Champions after a play-off with Tony Finau last October. "Honestly, it was a insane day", Schauffele said after signing for a 23-under total of 269. He set tournament marks with the lowest closing round by a victor and the largest 18-hole comeback (five shots). His eagle putt would slide by, but a birdie would be enough as Woodland settled for a final-hole par. I would have had to have gone out there and shot nine-under-par.

"I knew it was going to be a birdie-fest coming in".

"I have no idea what really works for me yet".

McIlroy, on 14-under 205, was alone in second, a shot ahead of Australian Marc Leishman (68) in third on a breezy day at the scenic island course in Maui. Frustrated right now, but Xander played great.

"This one will sting tonight but we'll regroup".

Schauffele wasn't finished. He hammered a 5-wood onto the green at the 18th to about 12 feet, narrowly missing his third eagle of the final round.

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