Xander Schauffele ends with birdie-birdie-eagle to finish 2 again of Scottie Scheffler at Tour Championship

ATLANTA — Masters champion Scottie Scheffler is taking half in every bit simply like the No. 1 participant in golf and was on the verge of turning the Tour Championship proper into a rout.

Three holes by Xander Schauffele modified the whole lot going into the weekend at East Lake.

Schauffele holed a pair of birdie putts, after which drilled a 4-iron simply over the bunker and proper by the opening on the par-5 18th, rolling in a 5-foot eagle putt.

The birdie-birdie-eagle finish — Scheffler wished to settle for pars — gave Schauffele a 7-underneath sixty three as he went from a 6-shot deficit to 2 photographs behind Friday.

Schauffele hardly ever will get overly excited, and this was no exception.

“It was good to choose up some photographs late right here, however it certainly’s solely a positioning battle going into Sunday,” he said. “There’s pretty simply a few golf to be performed on this property.

Scheffler wasn’t overly involved. He hardly ever is.

“i am simply going to go on the market and do my factor and examine out to play good golf,” Scheffler said. “Xander clearly has an unbelievable monitor report round right here, however paying consideration to what fully different guys do on the golf course has by no means served me too effectively.”

Scheffler, who had a sixty six, was at 19 underneath par. He started at 10 underneath par as a end result of the No. 1 seed inside the FedEx Cup — Schauffele started 4 photographs behind as a end result of the No. 4 seed — and had few complaints fully different than not making every birdie likelihood, they usually had been ample.

Scheffler performed bogey-free. The 4 putts from 10 toes or nearer that he missed? He noticed these solely as alternatives, a reminder that he was taking half in the variety of golf that carried him to an unbelievable stretch of 4 wins in two months — capped by the Masters — inside the spring.

starting the day with a 5-shot lead, Scheffler made birdie from 5 toes on the par-three second hole after which pounded driver on the subsequent hole so completely that he had a flip wedge into 5 toes for an further birdie. At that time, he was forward by eight photographs.

Jon Rahm additionally had a sixty three and labored his means nearer to the best at thirteen underneath. He was being interviewed when he seemed up at a tv visual display unit to see if Scheffler had made one other birdie. He nonetheless was 6 photographs behind. Defending champion Patrick Cantlay (sixty six) and Sungjae Im (sixty five) had been 7 photographs again.

Rahm wasn’t optimistic if he put himself again inside the mix, however his sixty three made it really feel extra low price.

“however he is taking half in good golf, proper? And we’ll ought to carry on going and play good golf, as effectively,” Rahm said. “it ought to take a terribly strong weekend from me and hopefully not a strong one from Scottie. that is variety of what we’re making an try to get your hands on.”

Schauffele appeared to get your hands on that on the extreme. He was 6 photographs behind when he hit his method to 12 toes behind a again left pin on the sixteenth and made the birdie. From the inexperienced on the seventeenth, his wedge spun again to 4 toes.

The 4-iron was daring and paid off.

“It was simply a little proper of the place I wished, however it certainly had the hole and the variety. I hit it very effectively, so I wasn’t very apprehensive about it,” Schauffele said. “simply making an try to confirm to cowl that nook and that i hit it strong, so I knew it was going to cowl. For it to go to 5, 6 toes was positively a bonus.”

Schauffele’s report round East Lake is astounding since he first arrived in 2017 as a PGA Tour rookie and acquired. The FedEx Cup was fully different that yr, based mostly on factors that had been reset for the closing event of the yr. Justin Thomas acquired the massive bonus. When the match moved to the staggered start based mostly on seedings, he had the low rating over seventy two holes when extreme-seeded Dustin Johnson acquired the FedEx Cup.

no matter the format, Schauffele has by no means shot worse than par in 22 rounds. He has solely two rounds at 70, the selection 20 inside the 60s.

that is not on his thoughts. Neither is the deficit he shrank to 4 photographs over the closing three holes.

“There’s rather a lot at stake right here, and staying current goes to be the hardest factor,” he said.

At stake is the $18 million bonus and, for Schauffele, an alternative to finish the yr with 4 PGA Tour titles. Scheffler wishes to finish in all likelihood the easiest yr in golf with a becoming crown. Seven months in the past, he nonetheless was making an try to get your hands on his first PGA Tour title.

in all likelihood the easiest rating of the delicate, sunny day belonged to Max Homa, who had a sixty two and nonetheless was 10 photographs behind.