ATLANTA — Masters champion Scottie SchefflerHe is playing like the No. He was the No. 1 player in golf, and was about to make the Tour Championship a rout.
Three holes by Xander SchauffeleEverything was transformed at East Lake.
Schauffele shot a pair of birdies, then drilled a 4-iron right over the bunker, right by the hole on Par-5 18, and then hit a 5-foot eagle putt.
Scheffler had the choice of pars, so Schauffele was left with a 7-under-63 score. This gave Schauffele a 6 shot deficit and 2 shots behind Friday.
Schauffele doesnt get too excited about anything, and this was no exception.
He said, It was nice that I picked up some shots late here. But its just positioning battle going into Sunday. There is plenty of golf to be played here.
Scheffler wasn’t too concerned. Scheffler is rarely concerned.
Scheffler stated that he is going to do his thing and play good golf. Xander clearly has a great track record here, but paying attention what other guys do on a golf course has never served my best interests.
Scheffler had a 66 and was at 19 under par. Scheffler started at 10 under par and was the No. 1 seed in FedEx Cup — Schauffele started 4 strokes behind as the No. 4 seed — with few complaints other than not making every birdie, and they were plentiful.
Scheffler was bogey-free. Scheffler missed four putts that were 10 feet or more. He saw them only as opportunities. It was a reminder that he was still playing the same kind of golf that got him to four wins in a row — including the Masters — in the spring.
Scheffler opened the day with a 5-shot lead. He made birdie at 5 feet on the par-3 2nd hole. Scheffler then pounded driver on hole 2 so well that he could flip his wedge into 5 feet for a second birdie. He was leading by 8 shots at that point.
Jon RahmAlso, he had a 63 and moved closer to the top at 13 over. He was being interviewed and looked up at a TV screen in an attempt to see if Schefflers birdie had been made. He was still six shots behind. He was the defending champion Patrick Cantlay(66). Sungjae Im(65) was 7 shots behind.
Rahm was unsure if he would put himself back in, but his 63 made it seem more reasonable.
But hes still playing good golf, right? Rahm stated that we need to keep playing good golf and continue to improve our game. It will take a really strong Saturday from me and hopefully not one from Scottie. Thats exactly what we want.
Schauffele seemed happy to find that at the very end. He was six shots behind when he made his approach to 12ft behind a pin on the back left on the 16th. He made the birdie. His wedge spun backwards to 4 feet from the fairway on 18th.
The 4-iron was bold, and it paid off.
It was just right where I wanted it to be. But it had the distance and the shape. Schauffele said that she hit it really well and wasnt worried about it. I was just trying to cover the corner and I hit it hard, so I knew that it would cover. It was definitely a bonus that it reached 5,6 feet.
Schauffeles record at East Lake is remarkable since he first arrived on the PGA Tour in 2017 as a rookie. He won. The FedEx Cup was different this year. It was based upon points that were reset for that final event of the calendar year. Justin ThomasHe was awarded the bonus. He had the lowest score of 72 holes in the tournaments staggered start, which was based on seedings. Dustin JohnsonThe FedEx Cup was won.
Schauffele has never shot less than par in 22 rounds, regardless of the format. He has only two rounds at 70 and 20 at 60.
This is not what he has in his mind. He isnt even thinking about the 4 shots he lost over the last three holes.
He said, Theres a lot at risk here, and staying present will be the hardest thing.
Schauffele is aiming to earn $18 million in bonus money and four PGA Tour titles. Scheffler hopes to have the best year in golf by winning a fitting title. Scheffler was still searching for his first PGA Tour win seven months ago.
The best score on the sunny, soft day went to Max HomaHe had a score of 62 but was still 10 shots behind.