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Xander Schauffele shoots 62 to tie major record for 2nd time

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Xander Schauffele shoots 62 to tie major record for 2nd time

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Xander Schauffele is selecting up proper the place he left off.

For the second time in a lower than a 12 months, the third-ranked participant on the earth tied the report for the bottom spherical at a serious championship by taking pictures an opening-round 62, this time within the first spherical of the PGA Championship.

A 12 months after he shot a U.S. Open-record 62 within the first spherical on the Los Angeles Nation Membership, Schauffele’s 9-under spherical Thursday featured 9 birdies and no bogeys and broke the Valhalla Nation Membership course report of 63 set by José María Olazábal in 2000, which had been tied for the PGA Championship report.

“I can not nitpick,” Schauffele stated when requested to check the 2 rounds. “I will take a 62 in any main any day.”

Schauffele’s report spherical separated him from the remainder of the sphere by 3 pictures. Tony Finau, who has 10 top-10 finishes at majors with no win, Sahith Theegala and Mark Hubbard carded 65s, whereas Rory McIlroy shot a 66 to settle in for a seven-way tie at 5 below on the web site of his final main win in 2014.

Additionally at 66 was two-time main winner Collin Morikawa, who performed top-of-the-line rounds of the afternoon wave, carding seven birdies in his final 12 holes.

After a three-week hiatus for the delivery of his son, Scottie Scheffler returned to the golf world and wasted no time eliciting his first roar by holing out for eagle on his first gap of the event.

What adopted within the ensuing 17 holes was a spherical that featured Scheffler’s B-game, at greatest, and included two bogeys and 4 birdies on his approach to a 67, 5 pictures behind the chief in a big group that features defending champion Brooks Koepka, who had an eagle and a birdie in his closing three holes.

“I felt like there was a pair issues I can clear up going into tomorrow, however general at this time was a stable spherical,” Scheffler stated after his forty first consecutive spherical at par or higher.

Tiger Woods completed with back-to-back three-putt bogeys and is 10 strokes behind Schauffele.

The primary spherical ended with 64 gamers breaking par to surpass the PGA Championship report of 60 set in 2006 at Medinah, based on the Elias Sports activities Bureau.

Schauffele, who began on No. 10, birdied 5 of his first 9 holes and carded a 31 earlier than turning over to the entrance 9 and persevering with his birdie march. Over the ultimate eight holes, he made 4 birdies to open a 3-stroke lead — tied with Bobby Nichols (1964) and Raymond Floyd (1982) for the most important on this occasion after 18 holes.

He had an opportunity to set the main report with a birdie putt on No. 9, however his 33-footer missed to the suitable. By the point he putted for par, taking part in alongside Louisville native Justin Thomas, it was clear Schauffele had taken middle stage.

“If you’re taking part in with one of many best 9 unders you’ve got ever seen, it makes you’re feeling such as you’re taking pictures one million,” stated Thomas, who shot a 2-under 69. “Xander, he is such an entire participant. … He is taking part in actually, actually nice golf proper now. So you’re feeling like he is a type of guys, each time he tees it up proper now, he’ll be in competition.”

Schauffele, a San Diego native, is not any stranger to first-round leads at main tournaments. He has the bottom profession first-round scoring common in majors among the many gamers within the area who’ve appeared in no less than 25 majors. It has but to end in wins, nonetheless.

Final 12 months, Schauffele’s opening-round 62 on the U.S. Open, which was equaled by Rickie Fowler and tied the first-ever 62 by Branden Grace on the 2017 Open Championship, put him within the driver’s seat for the event. However over the subsequent three days, Schauffele withered and completed tied for tenth following a final-round 72.

Schauffele and top-10 finishes go hand in hand. He has eight of them this season, however no victories. That development extends to main championships. Of this 12 months’s area, solely Fowler (13) has extra profession top-10 finishes at a serious with no win than Schauffele (12), who has completed inside the highest 10 at three of the previous 5.

Requested whether or not he’s taking part in one of the best golf of his profession, Schauffele could not assist however oblige.

“I might say it’s extremely near it, if not it,” he stated. “I really feel there’s spurts, moments in time the place you’re feeling like you may management the ball rather well, you are seeing the greens rather well, you are chipping rather well. However over a protracted interval, it is robust to maintenance excessive efficiency.”

Final week on the Wells Fargo Championship, Schauffele had his greatest shot at securing his first PGA Tour win because the 2022 Scottish Open as he led McIlroy by a stroke heading into the ultimate spherical. However a closing spherical of even par in opposition to McIlroy’s 6 below left Schauffele with one other second-place end — the 14th of his profession.

“I feel not successful makes you need to win extra, as bizarre as that’s,” Schauffele stated. “For me, no less than, I react to it, and I would like it increasingly and extra, and it makes me need to work tougher and tougher and tougher.”

However few gamers are taking part in higher golf than Schauffele is true now. He ranks inside the highest 10 in strokes gained, and it is solely his placing (forty second this 12 months) that has held him again.

Schauffele’s profile fits Valhalla effectively. The 7,600-yard course requires gamers to be distinctive with their lengthy irons, and Schauffele tops the PGA Tour this 12 months on strategy pictures over 200 yards.

On Thursday, Schauffele continued his stellar strategy play, gaining 2.5 strokes on the sphere. On the 498-yard, par-4 No. 6, Schauffele had 246 yards to the outlet and hit it on the inexperienced, the place he calmly two-putted for par.

His most spectacular effort, nonetheless, may need been the par-3 eighth. After airmailing the inexperienced, Schauffele hit an ideal, low pitch that trickled to inside inches for a tap-in par.

Scheffler, a four-time winner this 12 months, confirmed little rust in his return to play, however he missed just a few brief putts — two of which resulted in dropped pictures — that introduced again some recollections of his placing struggles earlier this 12 months. Nonetheless, Scheffler seems to be proper the place he needs to be. Given his type as of late, he has proven us {that a} spherical like Thursday’s is as poorly as he can play.

McIlroy had his ninth opening spherical of 66 or higher in a serious, probably the most ever by any participant.

“I form of felt prefer it was fairly scrappy for probably the most half. I do not actually really feel like I left many on the market,” McIlroy stated after his spherical, which included hitting balls within the water on Nos. 9 and 18. “I assumed I obtained lots out of my recreation at this time. Some good up-and-downs. I had a bit of little bit of a scrappy half across the flip there. … Not likely pleased with how I performed, however no less than pleased with the rating.”

With 54 holes to play and loads of leaderboard shifting to come back, particularly at a dramatic course equivalent to Valhalla, Schauffele is aware of in addition to anybody that what he does Thursday will not matter if he cannot stick with it via Sunday.

“It is simply Thursday,” Schauffele stated with a smile. “That is about it.”

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