Xander Schauffele lost the Masters by one stroke.
He was disappointed, to be sure, but hardly devastated, given what he witnessed in the final round of the 83rd Masters.
Playing two groups in front of the eventual champion, Schauffele was awed by the experience of Sunday’s crowd at Augusta National and the history-making performance of Tiger Woods.
“It's what I watched as a kid. It's what I watched growing up,” the 25-year-old San Diegan said. “Just everything about it, and for me to be a part of it and give it a good run …
“It was an incredible experience today.”
Schauffele scored four-under-par 68 and tied Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka at 12 under.
“It's hard to really feel bad about how I played, just because I just witnessed history,” Schauffele said. “It was really cool coming down the stretch, all the historic holes, Amen Corner, 15, 16, Tiger making the roars.
“I was trying to push myself, but I feel like I got a very full Masters experience here in my second year.”
Schauffele showed impressive nerve when he left himself with a seven-foot par putt on the 16th hole. He made it and that point was still tied before Woods’ birdie on 15.
Schauffele had been disappointed at not being able to birdie 15 when his wayward drive forced him to lay up.
“Once I parred 15, I knew I was in a bit of trouble, as well as 16, because the greens are a little soft and very gettable.
“But I did have my 30 seconds in the sun with the lead and it was a really cool feeling, and it just proves to my team and I that we can contend and that we can win on this property.”
Last year, Schauffele tied for 50th in the Masters, and in the summer tied for sixth in the U.S. Open and second in the British Open where Woods also contended in a win by Molinari.
Ranked 10th in the world, Schauffele already has two wins in the wraparound 2018-19 PGA Tour season, giving him four for his career.
A pair of aces
Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas each notched aces at the 16th, bringing the total in the Masters on the hole to 22.
In the group with Thomas was Phil Mickelson.
“It was actually funny,” Thomas said. “Right when I hit it, Phil and I were kind of walking off together, and I said jokingly, ‘How about a 1, Phil?’ “
Thomas shot 70 in the round and tied for 12th at eight under.
DeChambeau made the first ace of his career.
“I knew back three years ago,” DeChambeau said. “I said to my caddie and to everyone in my camp, ‘I'm going to make a hole in one here one day,’ and sure enough it was my first one three years later.”
DeChambeau, who opened the tournament with a 66, closed with a 72 and tied for 29th at four under.
Phil Mickelson double-bogeyed the 10th hole and didn’t make a birdie on the back nine in shoot 72. He finished the tournament tied for 18th at six under — his best placing in the last three years.
Charley Hoffman scored 70 and tied for 29th at four over. It was his lowest finish since 2016.
The low amateur among for who played on the weekend was Norway’s Viktor Hovland, who shot three consecutive 71s to end the Masters and tied for 32nd at three under.