PGA Favorite Scheffler Living Up to Hype
The early-week hype train was going full speed around the top golfers in the world. Given how difficult Oak Hill Country Club was set to be, most believed that the cream would rise to the top.
Scottie Scheffler is living up to all that hype through 36 holes.
The World No. 2 is 5 under after two rounds and is tied for the lead with Viktor Hovland and Corey Conners.
Scheffler has been in this position often over the last 18 months. Four wins last year including the Masters. Two wins already this season, including The Players Championship.
But it doesn’t come as a surprise to him. This buzz, this position, and this arena is the one Scheffler wants to be fighting in.
“I don’t want to be in 30th place or going home. I show up to the tournaments to perform at my best,” Scheffler said. “I’m proud of how I did the first few days and I’m excited to be in a good position going into the weekend.”
Scheffler, 26, started his day by knocking his approach on the par-4 first to just 18 inches and converting the birdie. He birdied the second hole as well before bogeying the par-4 seventh. He added back-to-back circles on the scorecard on Nos. 14 and 15 before an ill-timed bogey on his final hole of the day.
Scheffler said he thought he had a lie to get the ball up onto the green after knocking his ball into the rough 196 yards from the hole on No. 18. He swung “really hard” with a 4-iron but with the intermittent rain falling through the afternoon, he didn’t get enough height or spin on the ball and he found himself 40 yards short. He pitched to 12 feet but missed the par saver.
Still, he’ll be heading into Saturday with a piece of the lead. He said part of why he’s comfortable at a place like Oak Hill is because of the challenge it presents. Scheffler is embracing whatever is being put in front of him this week.
“It's fun to play just because of how difficult it is. It's a grind,” Scheffler said. “It's very challenging, but I feel like on a golf course like this, I'm one swing away from getting everything back together. You get rewarded for good shots out here, and if you execute, you can birdie pretty much any hole. Granted, it's going to take two pretty incredible golf shots to do that, but it can be done. It's not impossible.”
Scheffler has had as impressive a body of work on the PGA TOUR as anyone over the last year or so, with just one finish outside the top 12 since October. His stats are the elite of the elite – second in strokes gained total for the season. His putting has been a glaring area of struggle (he’s 102nd in strokes gained putting) but this week he’s 20th.
And how about this for a mindset? He knows golf is hard. But with how well he’s been able to string four good rounds together this year, it’s not surprising that feels just fine heading into the weekend at another major, with another chance to win.
“(I) show up and do my best each day and see where that puts me, and recently it's put me in some really good spots,” Scheffler said. “I'm proud of that, and I'm hoping to continue that moving forward.”