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Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

  • Xander Schauffele couldn’t complete his late comeback at the Masters this week.

  • After four straight birdies, Schauffele fell apart at No. 16, hitting his ball in the water.

  • Schauffele eventually triple-bogeyed the hole, costing him a shot at the green jacket and $575,000.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Xander Schauffele once again came oh-so-close to a major victory on Sunday at the Masters.

Playing in the final pairing with leader Hideki Matsuyama, Schauffele began the final round four strokes behind and needed to make a move.

After the first 14 holes of the tournament had begun to felt like a coronation for Matsuyama, Schauffele made a move and birdied four straight holes to vault himself back into contention. After a birdie for Schauffele and a bogey for Matsuyama at No. 15, things were getting interesting.

As Schauffele stepped to the tee box at No. 16, Augusta National was as tense as it had been all weekend, but with one bad club selection, Schauffele broke that tension and any hopes he had for winning the tournament.

Hitting an 8-iron into the par-3 green, Schauffele came up well short of his desired landing area and had to watch as his ball dripped helplessly into the water.

Adding insult to injury, Schauffele hit the shot he wanted to hit.

“I was coming in hot; I was feeling good,” Schauffele said after his round. “I’ve been told so many things by so many veterans. Play the winds you feel. Austin and I, it was 184. We felt down cut at the moment. I hit an 8-iron, and I flushed it. It was not down cut.”

Unfortunately for Schauffele, flushing it wasn’t enough. Had he gone one club longer, he would have been safely on the green, possibly with another shot at birdie and even more mounting pressure on Matsuyama. Instead, his triple-bogey allowed Matsuyama to cruise to victory and left Schauffele to wonder what could have been.

Schauffele’s poor club selection not only played him out of contention for the green jacket, but it also wound up costing him $575,000 in potential winnings from the tournament.

Heading into No. 16, Schaffele was alone in second place. Had he been able to play out the final three holes at even par and held on to that position, he would have walked away from Augusta National with a $1.2 million check. Instead, his triple-bogey pushed him into a tie for third and a cash prize of $667,000.

In professional golf, every shot counts.

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