TULSA, Okla. – The scorecard does not tell the story. There is a “4’’ marked on the 18th hole at Southern Hills for Scottie Scheffler, and it was anything but ordinary.
A tee shot of 294 yards into the water left the reigning Masters champion less than happy. The poor tee shot was one thing. Being in the water was another. But the prospect of three straight bogeys to end his round was quite distressing.
But with 185 yards left, Scheffler’s shot to the green stop 15 feet from the hole. He rolled in the putt for the most unlikely of pars.
“Well, it's definitely going to make my dinner taste a little better,’’ Scheffler said after shooting 1-over 71. “Bogeying the last three is definitely not very fun, so it was good to make that par at the end.
“I'm still pretty frustrated with how I played the back nine, but overall 1 over par playing as poorly as I did today is not — I didn't shoot myself out of the tournament, so I'm still in OK position.’’
Scheffler, who has won four tournaments this year in a speedy rise to No. 1 in the world, finds himself six shots back of leader Rory McIlroy and in a tie for 39th place.
It’s unfamiliar territory for a guy who has played the best golf of his life over the past three months and came to Southern Hills as one of the tournament favorites.
But golf sometimes intervenes, and Scheffler had some issues during the first round, including bogeying four of his last seven holes.
“It's early in the week; still a lot of golf left to play,’’ he said. “I guess I'm six back now, so six shots over three days really isn't that big of a deal. I'm definitely a lot further back than I had hoped to be, but at the end of the day I'll probably be in 40th place.
“This is one of those golf courses where you could have a really great round, and so for me just kind of taking what the weather is going to give us tomorrow morning and kind of go from there.’’
It wasn’t all bad for Scheffler.
At the 656-yard par-5 fifth hole, Scheffler had 306 yards left to the hole after a 348-yard drive. From there, he hit a 3-wood that landed in front of the green – the yardage to the front was 288 – and trickled up onto the green to 10 feet. He made the putt for eagle – the only one at the hole all day.
“ I hit two fantastic golf shots,’’ Scheffler said. “I held a driver against the wind off the tee and then I drew a 3-wood in there and I ran it up kind of the front part of the green. It was two just great shots, especially the 3-wood, and then a great putt.
“But there's definitely no gimmes out there; there's not a hole where you set up on the tee and it's like, man, I have to make birdie here or else I'm losing strokes.’’
More PGA Championship Coverage from Morning Read:
> Round 1 Scores, Updates from Southern Hills
> Rory McIlroy Sprints Out of Gate with 65, Showing Confidence of Old
> UPS Dumps Lee Westwood on Heels of LIV Golf Waiver Request
> Tiger Woods Hobbles to 74 in Opening Round
> Jordan Spieth Plans to Get Aggressive After Conservative Opening Round
> Hot Temperatures, a Hot Start for Rory McIlroy and a Frigid Brooks Koepka
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