Scottie Scheffler Looks Like Himself Again at the Travelers Championship

The world No. 1 made more birdies Thursday at TPC River Highlands than in four rounds at the U.S. Open.
Scottie Scheffler opened with a 65 on Thursday at the Travelers Championship
Scottie Scheffler opened with a 65 on Thursday at the Travelers Championship / Katie Goodale-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe last week was just a mirage for Scottie Scheffler.

The world No. 1 was a surprising non-factor at the U.S. Open, finishing T41 with four straight rounds over par—more than he’d had the entire season on the PGA Tour.

Maybe he just needed to return to a signature event.

Thursday at the Travelers Championship, Scheffler had more circles on his scorecard in the first 14 holes (four birdies, one eagle) than in four rounds at Pinehurst No. 2 (four birdies). That with just one bogey gave him an opening 5-under 65, putting him on the first page of the leaderboard in the season’s final signature event.

Tom Kim shot 8-under 62 to take the Round 1 lead, followed by Akshay Bhatia, Rickie Fowler, Kurt Kitayama and Will Zalatoris at 6 under.

“I feel like I hit it nice,” Scheffler said. “Found some swings, or found some stuff in my swing at the beginning of the week, and definitely feel like I'm swinging a lot better than I did last week.”

When asked Wednesday to characterize his week at Pinehurst after a few days removed, Scheffler laughed and said “long,” adding that he “didn’t have my best stuff.”

On more than one occasion last week, Scheffler admitted to some fatigue following Jack Nicklaus’s Memorial Tournament, which he won but said didn’t fit into how he prefers to prepare for majors. Coincidentally or not, a schedule change for the Memorial was announced Tuesday, moving it back to two weeks before the U.S. Open.  

Scheffler has won the Masters and Players this season and feasted on the signature events, winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational, RBC Heritage and Memorial. Of his more than $24 million earned this season, $13,388,000 has come from signature events.

In the opening round at TPC River Highlands, Scheffler hit 10 of 14 fairways and all but one green. He made three straight birdies from the 2nd through 4th holes, eagled the 536-yard par-5 13th by hitting it to within 8 feet in two and added one more birdie at the 14th.

He was in the top 10 for the day in strokes-gained putting after losing strokes on the greens at Pinehurst.

“I struggled seeing the break on the greens last week,” he said Wednesday. “I had a hard time finding the right line. I felt like I hit a lot of good putts that came off the way I wanted to, and I looked up and they were just not even really close to going in at times. So that can always be a bit frustrating, but it's nice to get here on some familiar surfaces and hit some good putts and see some balls go in.”

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John Schwarb


John Schwarb is the senior golf editor for Sports Illustrated whose career has spanned more than 25 years covering sports. He’s been featured on,, The Golfers Journal and Tampa Bay Times. He’s also the author of The Little 500: The Story of the World's Greatest College Weekend. A member of the Golf Writers Association of America, John is based in Indianapolis.