Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

PGA Championship: Scottie Scheffler begins with a magnificent eagle, keeps pressure on Schauffele

By admin May30,2024

LOUISVILLE — Scottie Scheffler stood at the first tee nine strokes behind PGA Championship clubhouse leader Xander Schauffele. Two swings later, Scheffler had sliced Schauffele’s lead to seven.

Scheffler holed his approach on No. 1 at Valhalla, and suddenly Schauffele’s massive lead didn’t look quite so untouchable any more:

To make it even wilder, this is the third straight year a player has eagled hist first hole at the PGA Championship, via Elias Sports Bureau. Scott Stallings and Jesse Mueller eagled their firsts the previous two years, respectively. Both, however, missed the cut.

That likely won’t be the case for Scheffler, who has won four of the last five tournaments he’s played in, including the Masters, and placed T2 in the fifth. He also welcomed the birth of his first child last week. And he might just add another major championship to his overflowing pile of riches in the next three days.

Scheffler backed up the eagle with a grinding (for him) 4-under 67, which put him five strokes back of Schauffele. (It could have been four had Scheffler made a short birdie putt on 18.) The 67 marked Scheffler’s 41st straight round of par or better.

“I felt like the scores could be low,” Scheffler said. “… I just wanted to put together a solid round, and outside of a few mistakes I thought that I played pretty solid today.”

Scheffler’s to the point where it’s almost stunning when he’s not deep in red figures, and on this day 4-under proved to be only so-so. Part of that can be attributed to the easier scoring to be had in the morning session. By the time Scheffler teed off in the afternoon, the course had dried out a bit and no one went lower than 5-under.

Friday, the script could be flipped, depending on the weather. Scheffler gets an early tee time, while Schauffele and most of the players ahead of the world No. 1 on the leaderboard (including Tony Finau and Rory McIlroy) will tee off in the afternoon when rain could be falling.

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