Gary Woodland reeled off five successive birdies en route to a second straight 67 that gave him a three-shot lead at the halfway point of the PGA Tour's Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Friday.
The 25-year old came from 5 shots off the 54-lead held by Gary Woodland, playing the final seven holes in 6 under par to defeat Woodland by one shot, Woodland unable to convert his three-shot overnight lead and settling for a 10th PGA Tour runner-up finish.
Starting the day five shots behind the leaders, Schauffele was barely in the conversation at the start of the fourth round when it came to who was going to wrap up the first tournament of 2019. "Honestly, it was a insane day", Schauffele said after signing for a 23-under total of 269.
Northern Ireland's McIlroy, meanwhile, could get nothing going in the final round of his first appearance at the event, which is open only to winners of tour events the previous season.
He put his tee shot into a penalty area, the new terminology used for a hazard under changes to golf's rules implemented at the start of the year, at the par-four fourth.
Fifth-ranked Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis was nine down in solo seventh after a 71, while Webb Simpson totaled 65 and was another stroke behind in a tie for eighth with sixth-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain, who finished at 69, and Patton Kizzire, who wound up at 68.
Rory McIlroy said he had the ideal warmup for the Sentry Tournament of Champions back home in Jupiter, Fla., last month.
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.
Despite opening with a bogey, Schauffele quickly recovered, firing eight birdies and two eagles on his way to victory. Woodland hit his approach to just inside 12 feet, and made the second birdie of the day to tie for the lead. "You have an iron into the par 5 in the middle of the fairway on the last hole, you expect to make birdie".
Tied with Woodland over the closing holes, Schauffele finished birdie-birdie for a 61 that tied the course record at Kapalua held by four other players.
"I was hitting the gap wedge on the range this morning with that little board and I was landing it just short, which was 102 (yards), so I figured take a little off that and it happened to one hop in there", he said. "We kept our head down and tried to run for it".
"I didn't do much leaderboard watching", said Schauffele, who started the best round of his career with a bogey. "My goal today was to birdie the par-fives and make a couple more and see if that was enough".
"My grandmother died last night so that was hard to deal with but then I'm pleased to play as well as I did", said the very affable American.
"But Xander played great and hats off to him. Hats off to him". That includes a World Golf Championship last fall in Shanghai, and the Tour Championship to close out the 2017 season.