The Gamers: Xander Schauffele’s resilience reclaims lead

Xander Schauffele flexed his muscle tissue at TPC Sawgrass Saturday. He performed alongside 36-hole chief Wyndham Clark, coming into the day down by 4 pictures.

But, Schauffele fired off a bogey-free 7-under 65 to complete at 17-under for the event. His very good play helped him surpass Clark, who shot a 2-under 70 on Saturday.

Whereas he was capable of make three birdies on the again 9, it was a grind for him. He confirmed resilience all through the spherical when discovering a fairway proved unimaginable.

“I solely hit two fairways on the again 9,” Schauffele stated. “Once you make 58-footers, you get up-and-down on holes like 18 from the entrance tough; it takes a bit little bit of stress off sure components of your sport. All in all, it was a little bit of a grind.”

The reigning Olympic gold medalist carded seven birdies to put up his second 65 of the week, however he needed to have ice in his veins to make it occur.

“At occasions previously, I’ll get a bit forward of myself and lose confidence once I shouldn’t,” he stated. “Right now, I attempted to remain in my very own little field with Austin [Kaiser, his caddie] and never have a look at too many leaderboards once I didn’t need to. There’s no want to try this. I heard roars throughout the property, and I actually simply stayed in my lane.”

That mindset paid off for him.

“I maintain myself to a reasonably excessive customary at occasions, and generally it’s not good to try this throughout the center of the spherical,” he defined. “You’ve bought to flick on the self-belief and positivity versus questioning why you’re not doing what you’re presupposed to be doing.”

Schauffele scored when Clark couldn’t and saved par when he wanted it most.

He and Clark might have simply entered Sunday tied at 17-under. Nevertheless, Clark hit a horrible tee shot on 17, the notorious island inexperienced gap, hitting his tee shot simply 102 yards and into the water.

The previous Oregon Duck made bogey and dropped to 16-under.

Schauffele proceeded to hit his ball onto the inexperienced however left himself a difficult putt. He had wonderful velocity management on his birdie putt, however simply missed. The 7-time PGA Tour winner settled for par however left that gap with a one-shot lead.

Whereas in the present day’s spherical ought to encourage confidence, historical past means that Schauffele could not take residence the trophy on Sunday.

Not one of the final eight gamers who held a 1-shot lead after 54 holes at this occasion have gone on to win, per The Athletic’s Justin Ray.

Schauffele has 12 runner-up finishes in his profession. He additionally has three third place finishes and 39 top-5s. The World No. 6 is infamous for developing quick at occasions when he might have received, so one of these stat is daunting.

One other letdown could also be within the offing for Schauffele, however possibly it’s his time to lastly win one of many greatest occasions on the PGA Tour. He and Clark will stay paired for the ultimate spherical, however there are 5 gamers inside 5 pictures of Schauffele able to go low on Championship Sunday and steal his title.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf employees author for SB Nation’s Enjoying By way of. For extra golf protection, remember to comply with us @_PlayingThrough on all main social platforms. You may also comply with her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.

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