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Woodland, who held a three shot lead heading in to the final round, managed a five-under 68 to close out solo second, but came up a shot short of converting his 54-hole lead after failing to birdie the final hole.
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McIlroy, on 14-under 205, was alone in second, a shot ahead of Australian Marc Leishman (68) in third on a breezy day at the scenic island course in Maui.
Northern Ireland's McIlroy, meanwhile, could get nothing going in the final round of his first appearance at the event, which is open only to winners of tour events the previous season. It stayed out to the right, he hit a pitch-and-run to 10 feet and missed the putt. But Woodland made his second birdie of the day at the ninth to push the margin back to two, and gave himself more breathing room with a 30-foot birdie putt at the par-three 11th.
"Just one of those days where it just didn't happen".
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"My attitude was much better today, I didn't press at all, I was very patient, it's just something I'm going to have to persist in, just keep putting myself in these positions and honestly, I don't think anyone could have beaten Xander today", McIlroy said.
"I probably pushed a little too hard, and it didn't really work out for me", McIlroy said.
Five off the pace at the start, Schauffele, pictured left, looked to have little chance of tasting victory after opening the fourth round at Kapalua with a bogey. My best round of the year [in 2018] was Bay Hill and I always go back to that and I should have learned from that.
Rory McIlroy briefly caught him for the lead until the birdies stopped falling. "This was in sort of dramatic fashion and it turned into a birdie fest coming down the stretch", said Schauffele as he savoured a fourth PGA Topur triumph and one that lifted him to world No 6.
While the expected duel between Woodland and McIlroy, playing together in the final group, never materialized, Schauffele provided plenty of drama.
Justin Thomas, who also bogeyed the first hole, ripped off nine birdies over his final 16 holes to post an 8-under 65.
Xander Schauffele figured he had nothing to lose. "So to get myself right back in contention and see if I've learned anything from past year and try to put that into practice is great".