Team USA's Xander Schauffele is golden in golf.
The California native held at least a share of the lead since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics' second round, when he shot an 8-under par 63. He widened his lead by three in Saturday's third round for a 14-under par, totaling 199. On Sunday, with a logjam of golfers breathing down his neck, Schauffele maintained focus and delivered a memorable third shot on 18 to just feet from the hole to win gold.
"For me, I really wanted to win for my dad," Schauffele said in a post-competition interview. "I'm sure he's crying somewhere here right now."
The round's other big story: Slovakia's Rory Sabbatini leapfrogged 16 players with a jaw-dropping 10-under par 61 for a 267 score -- tying the American in the process. His 61 now stands as the best-ever Olympic golf score. Calling the 45-year-old, South African-born Sabbatini's silver medal-worthy performance a shocker is an understatement -- and not just because he's the oldest player in the field. The Slovakian achieved his highest PGA ranking of World No. 8 back in September 2007, when he tied for second at that year's Masters.
Meanwhile, seven golfers -- including Japanese fan favorite Hideki Matsuyama and Team USA's Collin Morikawa -- lined up for third with a 269 total. With a beautiful shot at the 17th hole, Matsuyama had an excellent opportunity to best his competitors and make the podium -- but missed a birdie at 12 feet, prompting a bronze medal playoff.
It was the first-ever seven-man playoff in PGA history, and as chaotic as one might expect.
Seven turned to five as Matsuyama and Great Britain's Paul Casey were eliminated after the first playoff hole. Then Colombia's Sebastian Munoz, Chile's Mito Pereira, and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy were booted following the third playoff hole. Down to just Taiwan's C.T. Pan and Morikawa in the fourth playoff hole, the American sunk a shot deep into a sandpit, next to a slope.
That gave C.T. the opportunity he needed to claim bronze.
Gold - Xander Schauffele (USA)
Silver - Rory Sabbatini (SVK)
Bronze - C.T. Pan (TPE)