2022 Travelers Championship Rankings, Grades: Xander Schauffele’s steady hand earns him his sixth PGA Tour win

In a battle between best friends, it was Xander Schauffele who was victorious over a fading Patrick Cantlay at the 2022 Travelers Championship. With his second triumph this year and the sixth of his career, entering the circle of winners marks Schauffele’s first “normal” victory in almost five years.

After first winning on the PGA Tour at the 2017 Greenbrier Classic, Schauffele has since added three limited field wins, a team event title with Cantlay and of course an Olympic gold medal last summer. However, none of these events have featured a cut or field of approximately 150 other participants.

Nicknamed for not being able to close the deal, Schauffele did just that this week in Cromwell, Connecticut, when he successfully converted a 54-hole lead for the first time in his career. Stunning from the start, the 28-year-old’s perseverance was eventually rewarded with his first singles title on the PGA Tour since the 2019 Tournament of Champions.

Schauffele started his Travelers Championship with consecutive bogey-free rounds of 7-under 63, opening a five-shot lead into the weekend. After tying in Scottie Scheffler’s Masters effort for the biggest 36-hole margin of 2022, Schauffele’s ship began to take some water in the third round.

With Cantlay closing the gap to one after Saturday’s action, it was plausible to think it would be the 2021 PGA Tour Player of the Year who would thrive under the pressure of the final round.

But when he fell to 4 through his first 12 holes, it was Schauffele who continued to show his level head. While there were patchy moments throughout the lap – and even falling out of the lead late in the lap – it was Schauffele’s consistency that shone through.

Unfortunately for Schauffele, consistency doesn’t often come with trophies on the PGA Tour. We hear players discuss spiking a few times a year, hoping it’s enough to get a win or two. Sunday was one of those rare occasions when Schauffele’s motionless hand outweighed the constant movement and nervousness of his closest competitor, Sahith Theegala.

Schauffele’s career could embody this perfectly. He was always referred to as a bridesmaid, never a bride, but this week his fortitude was enough to allow him to walk down the aisle and add a No. 6 win to his PGA Tour résumé. Rating: A+

Here are the grades for the rest of the 2022 Travelers Championship leaderboard

T2. Sahith Theegala (-17): He jumped into the solo lead after a birdie on the par 17, despite looking disheveled for most of the final loop. Missing a few convertible birdie opportunities and dropping bats, Theegala secretly entered the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year talk. With all the attention on Davis Riley and Cameron Young, Theegala has now seriously contested for a win on three separate occasions. Barring a bad decision on the 72nd hole, he’s likely a PGA Tour winner. Eventually leading to a double bogey, he’ll try to put that heartache aside as a strong finish to his rookie campaign could catapult him into the pending Tour championship Main Effects.

“I did whatever I thought I had to do and it just so happened that everything bad culminated in a hole,” Theegala said. “I’ve done so much good. I didn’t even have to do much climbing today. I don’t think I will do anything differently. I’m just going to keep going with my process and loving every moment of it and, yeah, just keep it up.” Class: A

4. Michael Thorbjornsen (-15): We almost had it Golf Story of the Decade on our hands as the amateur catapulted himself to just one lead after a birdie on the par-3 11th. Thorbjornsen played a 5 hole stretch in 5 under and eventually secured a touch with a couple of bogeys coming home but he gave all golf fans someone to cheer for together. Overall, it was an incredible achievement and seeing his name on the front page of the PGA Tour leaderboards is just the beginning.

“Yes, I would definitely say that. It gives me some confidence,” said Thorbjornsen. “I think the thing is I played well, I felt like I played well, but I didn’t feel like I played incredibly out there. I definitely got some shots out there, had some mistakes, mental mistakes throughout the week. But it feels good.” Rating: A+++

T13. Webb Simpson (-10): After suffering neck and shoulder injuries over the winter, Simpson is finally getting back into shape. This is his first top 15 finish since November’s RSM Classic and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Simpson’s performance in Connecticut, just inside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings earlier in the week, has the potential to lead him to a quick end to his season. Grade: B+

T13. Patrick Cantley (-10): Mr. Consistency was anything but on Sunday as Cantlay struggled early and often in the last lap. With five bogeys, three birdies and a par on his out nine, the reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year was unable to collect on the turn as he grew to four behind Schauffele. Cantlay added inexplicable error after unexplained error to eventually total 6 to 76 in the finals. Still without a solo win in 2022, Cantlay’s season was riddled with near misses, with this Travelers Championship contributing to that total. He is expected to play at the Scottish Open in the week before the Open Championship, where his best result came on his debut in 2018. Grade B

T19. Rory McIlroy (-9): McIlroy started the week at an 8-under 62 and was in full control of his game and the No. 22 win seemed imminent. The Northern Irishman, who reached 13 Under on Friday after a birdie on the par-3 11, began to wither as he carded a quadruple and a double bogey on his second round and came home. He would continue that downward spiral over the weekend, but after four straight weeks of competition the fatigue felt inevitable. The next time we see McIlroy, he’ll be at the JP McManus Pro-Am the week before the 150th Open Championship in St. Andrews. Grade: C+