The Gamers: Xander Schauffele battles again, eyes Wyndham Clark

When Xander Schauffele arrived on the eleventh tee Friday at TPC Sawgrass, he was 9-under total and bogey-free for his first 28 holes of The Gamers.

That shortly modified.

After discovering the golf green off the tee, Schauffele had 263 yards left to the flag stick, with water and a protracted, winding bunker in his method.

He inexplicably discovered the water, however the final mistake got here afterward.

“It was only a horrible swing,” Schauffele mentioned. “Was a bit uneasy.”

Enjoying his fourth shot, Schauffele air-mailed the back-left pin as his shot settled in a group space effectively beneath the floor. He didn’t rise up and down from there, thus recording his first dropped shot of the week: a double-bogey seven.

“Thought I might pile one on there and kind of reduce the lead much more, and to go backward on a par-5 is rarely what we’re attempting to do,” Schauffele defined.

Xander Schauffele, PGA Tour, The Players Championship

Xander Schauffele stands subsequent to caddy Ausin Kaiser in the course of the second spherical of the 2024 Gamers Championship.
Picture by Sam Greenwood/Getty Photos

“Then compounding a horrible wedge shot on high of it.”

However the San Diego State product overcame this expensive mistake on the par-5 sixteenth, the place Schauffele made an eagle three.

“I used to be so comfortable to birdie the subsequent and a bonus to make the eagle on 16,” Schauffele mentioned.

His eagle was a sight to behold.

After bombing a 328-yard drive that break up the golf green, Schauffele knocked his strategy from 178 out to 9 toes. He calmly rolled it in for an eagle, which vaulted him as much as 10-under and, finally, in a tie for second.

His play on 16 reduce Wyndham Clark’s deficit to 4, because the reigning U.S. Open champion signed for a 7-under 65 for the second straight day.

“All you’re attempting to do is put some stress on somebody,” Schauffele defined.

“[Clark has] been taking part in unbelievable golf for fairly a couple of months now, and he’s obtained the facility and precision and may be very assured proper now. So it’s essential to be in that last group to try to put some stress on him and try to get going.”

Schauffele will play within the last pairing alongside Clark Saturday, regardless of being tied for second with Nick Taylor, the Canadian who just lately gained the WM Phoenix Open in an exhilarating playoff.

As a result of Taylor completed his spherical a couple of minutes after Schauffele, the American will get the nod into the ultimate group.

However Schauffele virtually coughed up that chance on the par-4 18th, the most difficult gap at TPC Sawgrass.

Schauffele missed the golf green to the precise, together with his drive settling down amongst the bushes. With water lurking left, he confronted a frightening punch shot for his strategy.

“It’s scary, for positive. You’re on pine straw; ball’s form of floating,” Schauffele mentioned of his second on 18.

“The 18th fairway is basically firming up. I hit a hybrid [off the tee] like 295 yards, which I didn’t assume I might do. That’s why I ended up within the pine straw.”

Xander Schauffele, PGA Tour, The Players Championship

Xander Schauffele performs his tee shot on 18 in the course of the second spherical of the 2024 Gamers Championship.
Picture by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Photos

He had 167 yards left and determined to hit a low 6-iron.

“Any ball that’s kind of bounding left or not slicing into the inexperienced on 18 is simply going to roll and roll and roll into the water,” Schauffele mentioned.

“My caddy Austin [Kaiser] and I talked about hitting it on the 18 emblem behind the inexperienced with a little bit fade, and it was pretty much as good of a shot as I can hit.”

Schauffele pulled off a miraculous shot, coming to relaxation 48 toes away on the placing floor. He then two-putted for par, signing for a 3-under 69.

He faces a large deficit, however with 36 holes left to play, Schauffele is aware of it’s nonetheless early to anoint a champion.

“It’s a bit early for that, to be trustworthy,” Schauffele mentioned.

“I’ve gained from behind, and I feel it needs to be possibly a little bit bit simpler, however for probably the most half we’re simply all right here—we attempt to keep on with our personal course of and get in our personal world, and also you form of overlook the place you’re at while you try this effectively.”

Certainly, Schauffele forgot about course administration on the eleventh gap on Friday. However he shortly rediscovered it on the following seven holes. Due to that, he has greater than a preventing probability at profitable his first Gamers Championship on Sunday night.

Jack Milko is a golf employees author for SB Nation’s Enjoying By means of. Make sure you try @_PlayingThrough for extra golf protection. You possibly can observe him on Twitter @jack_milko as effectively.

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