Good things come to those who wait, and Xander Schauffele has certainly waited long enough. But Bryson DeChambeau may only have to wait a month longer.

24 years on from Tiger Woods and Bob May’s duel for the ages at Valhalla, Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau were poised to gift the PGA Championship another Sunday shootout between two Americans.

This PGA Championship had not been lacking in theatrics and a playoff would have been a fitting finale for the soap opera of Kentucky but Schauffele and his putter had other ideas. Yet, while DeChambeau missed out on the chance at his second major title as Schauffele claimed his first, the LIV Golfer will leave Louisville resurgent.

After a record opening 62, Schauffele had led or co-led from wire to wire through three rounds of the PGA Championship – joining only Jimmy Walker, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Trevor Immelman as major winners to have done so.

Finally, it was Schauffele’s chance to convert that lead into a victory. But the fates – and DeChambeau – appeared to have other ideas and the deja vu began to sink in.

Bryson DeChambeau almost forced a PGA Championship playoff against Xander Schauffele

Bryson DeChambeau almost forced a PGA Championship playoff against Xander Schauffele

Bryson DeChambeau almost forced a PGA Championship playoff against Xander Schauffele 

Schauffele birdied the last to claim victory at Valhalla and avoid a Sunday shootout

Schauffele birdied the last to claim victory at Valhalla and avoid a Sunday shootout

Schauffele birdied the last to claim victory at Valhalla and avoid a Sunday shootout

DeChambeau and Viktor Hovland exchanged punch and counterpunch throughout the back nine. The pair beat up the vulnerable Valhalla in glorious tandem, combining for a total of 11 birdies and just the one bogey.

Their duel of pistoning birdies down the stretch put them within one shot of Schauffele heading up the 18th and with every chance of catching the leader.

The final hole had been the site of heroics for DeChambeau on Saturday. On Sunday, it set the stage for a stunning finale.

While he failed to replicate his eagle chip-in of the third round, DeChambeau’s birdie putt to tie Schauffele’s lead looked to be suspended over the edge of the cup before it ultimately trickled in.

The adrenaline, along with his fist, was pumping but DeChambeau would need to temper his excitement. For now, it was a waiting game.

While Schauffele headed to the 18th tee with the prospect of a playoff in play, DeChambeau stayed warm on the range. As he drilled practice shots, the big screen in the background showed his rival’s ball land precariously close to the lip of a fairway bunker.

Schauffele, with his stance compromised, executed a glorious rescue to the left of the green before chipping to within six feet and tricking his birdie putt halfway around the hole and in to avoid the shootout with the big hitter.

Relief for Schauffele. Disappointment for DeChambeau. But the Scientist can take a small win from Valhalla.

DeChambeau sank a birdie putt in front of the electric 18th gallery to tie for the lead

DeChambeau sank a birdie putt in front of the electric 18th gallery to tie for the lead

DeChambeau sank a birdie putt in front of the electric 18th gallery to tie for the lead

Schauffele chipped to within six feet and sank his birdie putt for his first major victory

Schauffele chipped to within six feet and sank his birdie putt for his first major victory

Schauffele chipped to within six feet and sank his birdie putt for his first major victory 

The big-hitting DeChambeau had the Louisville crowds back on his side at Valhalla

The big-hitting DeChambeau had the Louisville crowds back on his side at Valhalla

The big-hitting DeChambeau had the Louisville crowds back on his side at Valhalla

One month on from challenging at The Masters, DeChambeau found himself in contention all the way until the final hole of a major once again before finishing second at 20-under – even with his ‘B game’. 

‘[I] Felt like I had my “B” game pretty much,’  said DeChambeau following his final round. ‘My putting was A+, my wedging was A+, short game was A+, driving was like B. You know, shot 20-under par in a major championship. 

‘Proud of myself for the way I handled adversity. Definitely disappointing, but one that gives me a lot of momentum for the rest of the majors. I said today it was closing time, but it will be closing time hopefully, hopefully over the next couple majors.’

After slipping out of the golfing spotlight with his LIV Golf move, DeChambeau has confirmed his comeback on another of golf’s major stages and he has the crowds back on his side.

As he forced Schauffele’s hand with his putt at the 18th, DeChambeau electrified the gallery and matched their passion, lunging into identical fist pumps.

He may not be victorious at Valhalla but his tournament has been reminiscent of Brooks Koepka’s Masters near-miss last year. DeChambeau’s fellow LIV rebel saw the Green Jacket slip away from him on the final day at Augusta, only to claim his fifth major at Oak Hill the following month.

With the US Open on the horizon, the rest of the field should consider this week a warning shot – DeChambeau will be taking aim at Pinehurst.

Meanwhile, Collin Morikawa, a two-time major winner including a triumph at Harding Park to lift the Wanamaker in 2020, is another whose spotlight has dwindled in recent years. 

Morikawa, who started the day tied for the lead, had claimed people weren’t rooting for him out on the Valhalla fairways. In fairness, he didn’t give them much to root for on Sunday, having to wait until the final hole for a coveted birdie. 

DeChambeau and Viktor Hovland exchanged punch and counterpunch on the back nine

DeChambeau and Viktor Hovland exchanged punch and counterpunch on the back nine

DeChambeau and Viktor Hovland exchanged punch and counterpunch on the back nine

Collin Morikawa had started the day tied for the lead alongside Schauffele but fell away

Collin Morikawa had started the day tied for the lead alongside Schauffele but fell away

Collin Morikawa had started the day tied for the lead alongside Schauffele but fell away

Morikawa had to wait until the last to finally make a birdie, finishing 15-under for major

Morikawa had to wait until the last to finally make a birdie, finishing 15-under for major

Morikawa had to wait until the last to finally make a birdie, finishing 15-under for major 

Morikawa had briefly leapfrogged Schauffele into the solo lead Saturday when a birdie putt at the 15th circled the entirety of the cup before finally dropping. But Valhalla wielded no such luck Sunday.

A seven-foot putt for birdie at the seventh caught the lip of the hole and stayed out. Morikawa, in disbelief, stood with his head in his hands. He glared at the face of his putter in disgust as if it held the answers to his woes when he missed a birdie chance at ten and gazed up to the heavens when another wandered past on 12.

The scenes of exasperation summed up the afternoon for the World No. 13. Nothing went wrong for the Californian, but nothing really went right either.

He was forced to watch Schauffele pull away and himself slip down the leaderboard as he finished tied fourth alongside Thomas Detry at 15-under, three shots back of Hovland in third. 

Scottie Scheffler shook off his third round of two-over 73 – a likely delayed reaction to his whirlwind trip to a Louisville jail cell Friday, which snapped his streak of 42 rounds even-par or under – to card six-under and finish tied-eighth.

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