Xander Schauffele has come a long way.
Schauffele teamed up with Patrick Cantlay on Sunday to win the Zurich Classic with a tournament-record total of 29 under, but more than a decade earlier, Schauffele was receiving a heavy dose of reality as Cantlay’s college counterpart.
It was at the 2011 Gifford Collegiate, held at CordeValle in San Martin, California. Schauffele was a freshman at Long Beach State and ranked No. 268 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. And Cantlay? The UCLA sophomore was the world’s top-ranked amateur.
Schauffele and Cantlay were paired for the opening round as the field competed in twosomes.
“I remember it,” Schauffele said Sunday at TPC Louisiana. “I don't think Pat really remembers it. He has this ability or strength to go into sort of an auto-pilot mode where not much fazes him, hence Patty Ice. He was kind of in Patty Ice mode at UCLA when we played. I think he shot 65…”
Cantlay then chimed in: “I think it was 63."
Cantlay was correct. On that fall day, Cantlay carded eight birdies as part of an 8-under 63 while Schauffele was 15 shots worse, notching just a single birdie in shooting 78.
“He had me down for a 72 after the round,” Schauffele recalled. He handed me my card, and I was like, ‘I wish.’ He just had no clue what I shot. I didn't want to know what I shot, either.”
Cantlay went on to tie USC’s Steve Lim for medalist honors at 11 under while Schauffele rallied to shared 30th place, though 21 shots back of Cantlay.
“I sat there, and I was like, this guy is a lot better than me at golf,” Schauffele said. “That's kind of what I thought at the time. It's kind of funny, full circle, here we are.”
Sunday’s victory marked wins Nos. 5 and 7, respectively, for Schauffele and Cantlay on the PGA Tour.