TULSA, Oklahoma — Xander Schauffele is boiling.
Last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch outside Dallas felt like another hollow tournament for the world No. 10 and Tokyo Summer Olympics gold medalist. In addition to winning the Zurich Classic with Patrick Cantlay, he has fallen short of his high bar so far this year, hitting double bogeys in the tournament after bogeying the second and third holes in the second round. 3 over par. Bird Festival.
“Some horrible things. Not gonna lie,” Schauffele this week said of his thoughts as he headed to the fourth tee that day. “I should say it’s weird when you play so bad or score so bad. Score really bad, kind of liberates you. I have nothing to lose.
“So for quite a while in that game, I pretty much had that never-say-die mentality. And I was just chasing.”
That’s when Schauffele lit a fire under him.Can justify quite a few players as the hottest players to get into South Hills Country Club in ‘104th PGA Championship. World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler has won four tournaments since February, including the Masters. Three-time Grand Slam champion Jordan Spieth has a W-2 lead in his last two games. Last week’s winner, KH Lee, was 26 under.
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But who’s as hot as Schauffele? In Byron Nelson’s final 51 holes, he was 26-under par — he made 24 birdies and an eagle, bogey-free, and tied for third. repeat. 26 are under 51 holes.
“It was big for me. The Zurich tournament with Patrick was really good, the pressure was cut in half. I played really well and it was important to win that, but if you look at Zurich, my year How it’s going, for me, is how I feel and how my team sees how I should think about playing,” Schauffele said. “So it’s good to put it aside, and on Friday, I was a little stale and then woke up a little bit and made a lot of birdies.”
Is this his best record as a professional player?
“You tell me,” he said.
OK, we will. In three straight rounds, Schauffele’s 193 in rounds 2-4 (he shot 67-65-61) was one better than his previous best.
“The 61 last week was the icing on the cake,” he said. “But whenever you’re not playing well and you can get back into position and play well, it’s always a good thing for the confidence of the players.”
The last of Schauffele’s four PGA Tour titles came at the 2019 Sentry Championship. Although he has finished in the top 10 in nine of his 19 majors, he has yet to get a first.
“I haven’t had the best years so far, I would say, for the most part, in terms of consistency,” he said. “So I think I’m just going back to my process and being patient and not really trying to do too much. Just when I’m doing well professionally and I’m not worrying all week. I’m a bit of that now Feeling. I think mentally I’m in a good position.”
This will play well in Nanshan, which will not allow birdie festivals.
“It’s hard. It’s going to be very hard. I think for the most part, the PGA Championship, people feel like you can play lower than most majors. But I think this year is going to be a different story, “He said. “Nanshan is no joke. You know, it takes a lot of patience and a lot of quality balls to get around par.
“You just have to play smart. They’re going to be long rounds, not just because they’re hitting other greens and waiting, that sort of thing. It’s going to be long because you have to really think. You have to be smart. It’s going to be a game Psychological warfare, you really have to be patient.”