News, Culture & Society

All four British and Irish golfers are in contention for Olympic glory as Xander Schauffele leads

All four British and Irish golfers are in contention for Olympic glory as the USA’s Xander Schauffele looks to fulfil his partially sighted father’s dream and win gold… while Hideki Matsuyama is hoping to triumph on home soil

  • Xander Schauffele is a shot ahead of Hideki Matsuyama going into the final day 
  • Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood or Shane Lowry could win though
  • McIlroy admitted that the Olympic tournament had exceeded his expectations
  • Schauffele’s father was a decathlete hopeful before losing his sight in one eye
  • His only-ever coach, Schauffele is hoping to fulfil his dreams and win gold 
  • Matsuyama is looking to back up his Masters win with victory in Kawagoe 
  • Find out the latest Tokyo Olympic news including schedule, medal table and results right here

The sight of all four British and Irish golfers competing in the Olympics bearing down on the leaders going into the final round of the golf competition represented a dream scenario for the organisers following so many withdrawals in the build-up.

The fact the two pacemakers were American Xander Schauffele, trying to complete a moving personal triumph, and Hideki Matsuyama, the poster boy of Japanese sport, simply completed the picture.

It’s hard to imagine there will be too many refuseniks in Paris next time following this extravaganza. 

Paul Casey is just two shots off leader Xander Schauffele heading into the final day in Kawagoe

Rory McIlroy is also among the chasing pack and has been pleasantly surprised by the event

Rory McIlroy is also among the chasing pack and has been pleasantly surprised by the event

Tommy Fleetwood and Shane Lowry are both a shot off McIlroy on -10 in Saitama Prefecture

Tommy Fleetwood and Shane Lowry are both a shot off McIlroy on -10 in Saitama Prefecture

The sight of Rory McIlroy, hitherto apathetic, holding up his hands and flatly admitting he got it completely wrong, will not have gone unnoticed among those of like mind.

‘I need to do a better job of just giving things a chance and experiencing them before writing them off at first glance,’ said the Northern Irishman yesterday, after a 66 left him three behind. 

‘It’s a trait of mine. I did it with the Ryder Cup and was proven wrong and I’ve been proven wrong this week as well, I’m happy to admit that.’

Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey have never made any secret of their pride in representing Team GB, and they did the colours proud yesterday, shooting spectacular third round scores of 64 and 66 respectively to move into the hunt. 

It left Casey in bronze medal position, two shots behind Schauffele, with Fleetwood a further two strokes adrift.

‘Olympic golf gets knocked quite a bit, doesn’t it?’ said Casey. ‘It’s like “why do we need it when we’ve got four majors?”, that kind of stuff, but the guys here are very aware what it means to one person. There are three medals, but to the gold medallist, it’s massive.’

Schauffele is hoping to fulfil his partially sighted father's dream and become a gold medallist

Schauffele is hoping to fulfil his partially sighted father’s dream and become a gold medallist

Hideki Matsuyama will look to back up his Masters triumph with a fairytale win on home soil

Hideki Matsuyama will look to back up his Masters triumph with a fairytale win on home soil

The two men in front needed no telling of that. Schauffele’s father was an Olympic decathlete hopeful until he lost his vision in one eye after being involved in a car accident with a drunk driver. 

‘My father has been my only coach and just for me to be here in the Olympics is a dream come true for him,’ said Schauffele. ‘I can’t imagine what he would be like if I won gold.’

Just a fortnight after missing the Open after testing positive for Covid-19, Matsuyama is in position to follow up his historic Masters triumph in April with another victory to cause an explosion of national pride. Due to finish around 8am, it promises to be some final round.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk