Xander Schauffele secured his first major victory at the US PGA Championship. GETTY IMAGES

Xander Schauffele clinched his first major victory at the US PGA Championship by sinking a tense six-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole, achieving a record score on an exhilarating final day.

The American secured his victory at Valhalla, Kentucky, with a score of 21 under, fending off a strong challenge from Bryson DeChambeau and Viktor Hovland. After tying the best round ever at a major with a 62 in the first round, the 30-year-old Californian maintained his lead throughout the tournament, ultimately finishing with a six-under 65 to win the Wanamaker Trophy by a single stroke.

“I was actually kind of emotional after the putt lipped in,” Schauffele said. “It’s been a while since I’ve won and I kept saying it all week, I just need to stay in my lane. My dad is in Hawaii and I managed to call him but I had to hang up quickly because he was making me cry."

He continued, "Man, was it hard to stay in my lane today, but I tried all day to just keep focus on what I’m trying to do and keep every hole ahead of me. Had some weird kind of breaks coming into the house, but it’s all good now. I really didn’t want to go into a play-off against Bryson. It would have been a lot of work. 

"I just told myself, this is my opportunity, just capture it. I am very satisfied. I’m tired. Once I sat down in scoring, I felt a little bit more tired. But just a whirlwind of emotions. I knew I had to birdie the last hole, looking up at the board. It was a hectic birdie, as well, but it was awesome. I kept telling myself, I need to earn this, I need to prove this to myself and this is my time.”

Xander Schauffele won the US PGA Championship with a birdie. GETTY IMAGES
Xander Schauffele won the US PGA Championship with a birdie. GETTY IMAGES

Norwegian Hovland surged into the lead with six birdies in eight holes around the turn, but world number three Schauffele reclaimed it with impressive birdies on the 11th and 12th holes. DeChambeau capitalised on a fortunate break when his errant drive on the 16th hole hit a tree and bounced back into the fairway, leading to a birdie. He also birdied the final hole, carding a 64 to tie with Schauffele, prompting exuberant celebrations on the 18th green.

Hovland had a chance to join them at 20 under but faltered under pressure, taking three putts from 10 feet to finish at 18 under. Despite previous criticism for failing to close out tournaments, Olympic champion Schauffele held his nerve, sinking a birdie putt to clinch the title.

DeChambeau displayed grace in his defeat, saying, "First emotions, I’m proud of Xander (Schauffele) for finally getting the job done,” he said. “I mean, he’s an amazing golfer and well-deserved major champion now. He’s played well for a long, long time. Played against him as a junior. Not only he’s just a great human being, but an unbelievable golfer, and it shows this week. Super happy for him.

“On my side of the coin, disappointing, but, whatever. I played well. Didn’t strike it my best all week. Felt like I had my “B” game pretty much. My putting was A+, my wedging was A+, short game was A+, driving was like B.

“I 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 over the next couple majors.”