XANDER SCHAUFFELE clinched the gold medal in the men’s Olympic final following a nail-biting finish.
The American’s overnight lead was wiped out early this morning by Slovakia’s Rory Sabbatini, who jumped the leaderboard on the final day with an eagle and ten birdies on his way to a record-breaking 61.
Xander Schauffele celebrates winning Olympic gold[/caption]
Rory McIlroy failed to clinch the bronze medal in the seven-man play-off[/caption]
But the Californian held his nerve on the 17th – which he birdied – to win by a single stroke on 18 under par.
An elated Schauffele, whose grandparents live in Tokyo, said: “I really wanted to win for my dad. I am sure he is crying somewhere right now.
“I kind of wanted this one more than any other.
“You are trying to represent your country to the best of your ability and then you add family stuff on top of that.
“I’m probably going to have a nice call with my grandparents tonight.
“Everyone is back home watching. I was feeling the love from San Diego and Las Vegas this whole time.
I really wanted to win for my dad
“I’m a little speechless right now, quite honestly.”
Irishman Rory McIlory and Brit Paul Casey ended the tournament medalless as they failed to clinch the bronze medal in the seven-man bronze play-off.
And the unsuccessful trip to Tokyo has motivated McIlory to compete in the 2024 games in Paris.
The 32-year-old told BBC 5Live: “I’ve never tried so hard in my life to finish third.
“It’s not a position I’ve found myself in very often but I gave it my all out there and it wasn’t quite meant to be, but I’m looking forward to having a crack at it again.
“It’s not just another golf tournament – it’s something much bigger than that.
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“I didn’t realise that until I got here. I feel like golf has its Olympic Games four times a year, but this has a different feeling, it really does.
“I’ve really enjoyed teaming up with Shane [Lowry] for Ireland.
“It’s like a throwback to our amateur days.”