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Schauffele surges into PGA lead with record-breaking 62 – Golf News

By admin May18,2024

Xander Schauffele’s quest to win his first major title got off to the best possible start when the 30-year-old Californian fired a course record-breaking 62 to lead the PGA Championship field at Valhalla by three shots.

The world no.3 fired nine birdies in matching nines of 31 to surge to 9 under par, and break the course record of 63 set by José Maria Olazabal in 2010. It also matched the best score in any major championship in history, a record that he also matched in last year’s US Open.

“I’ll take a 62 in any major any day,” said Schauffele, who has recorded top-20 finishes in his last 12 majors. “Not winning makes you want to win more, as weird as that is. For me, at least, I react to it, and I want it more and more and more, and it makes me want to work harder and harder and harder. The top feels far away and I feel like I have a lot of work to do.”

‘The top’ is currently held, in world ranking terms, by Scottie Scheffler, who, fresh from watching the birth of his son last week, sits five shots back from Schauffele after opening with a four-under 67 which puts him tied 12th.

Schauffele, who has eight top-10 finishes this year alone, came into the tournament on the back of being handed a beating by world no.2 Rory McIlroy in the final round of Sunday’s Wells Fargo Championship, but the defeat clearly served as a motivating factor and has helped him to a four-shot lead over the Northern Irishman, who opened up the defence of his 2014 PGA victory at Valhalla with a more than decent 66, that sees him tied for fifth.

“I thought I got a lot out of my game today,” said McIlroy, who twice found water in what he described as a ‘scrappy’ round. “I am not really happy with how I played, but at least I’m happy with the score.”

Starting at the par-five 10th, McIlroy opened with a birdie, and added another at the 13th, his fourth, before dropping a shot at the par-4 17th to reach the turn in 35. After birdieing the first, his round caught fire at 5th, his 14th, with a run of three consecutive birdies which saw him complete the back nine in 31.

Sahith Theegala and Tony Finau are one shot ahead of McIlroy at six under, while five players – Bob MacIntyre, Tom Kim, Thomas Detry, Collin Morikawa and Tom Hoge – all matched McIlroy’s score.

Defending champion Brooks Koepka is well placed at four-under, while Viktor Hovland suggested an overdue return to form courtesy of a 68, which sees the Norwegian sit alongside the American as he, like Schauffele, seeks to add his name to the major record books.

Tiger Woods, the hard-to-look-away side show at all major championships these days,  was under par after 16 holes before three-putting his last two holes for a one-over 72, which put him in a share of 85th. Once again, the 15-time major champion blamed a lack of match practice for not having scored better, but if he isn’t able to put in the tournament hours it is hard to see how the 48-year-old is going to break this cycle of events.

“I am getting stronger for sure,” Woods said. “It’s just that I just don’t play a whole lot of competitive rounds. I haven’t played since the Masters. So, it’s a little bit different than being at home and playing a flat Florida course.”

For all the latest scores from the PGA Championship, click here

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