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Xander Schauffele, Louis Oosthuizen use eagles to shoot 66 at U.S. Open

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Xander Schauffele, Louis Oosthuizen use eagles to shoot 66 at U.S. Open

    Written by Sean Martin @PGATOURSMartin

    PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Xander Schauffele has been very good in the U.S. Open, but it also helps to be lucky.

    Schauffele took advantage of a good break to share the lead at the U.S. Open. His ball seemed destined for Stillwater Cove after he mishit his tee shot on Pebble Beach’s iconic finishing hole, but the ball hit the rocks and was propelled far down the fairway. With just 168 yards remaining for his second shot, Schauffele stiffed an 8-iron and made the short eagle putt. It was the finishing touch on a first-round 66.

    “I hit a toe ball there. When you hit it off the toe and it's diving against a cut wind it usually doesn't work out,” Schauffele said. “Luckily I hit the correct rock and it sort of careened down the fairway, 168 out. Very fortunate and happy we capitalized on a really lucky break.”

    Schauffele also pulled his second shot on 18, but it raced by the hole before coming to rest about 9 feet away.

    He missed just two fairways Thursday but only hit 11 greens. He said he was headed to the driving range after his round to sort out his ball-striking.

    He wasn't the only contender to make an eagle. Louis Oosthuizen holed out his second shot on the par-4 11th, his second hole of the day. They shared the lead for most of the day with Rickie Fowler and Aaron Wise until Justin Rose posted 65 lat Thursday.

    Oosthuizen is trying to win another major at an iconic course after claiming the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews.

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    Schauffele, the 2017 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year, is seeking his first major after multiple close calls in his young career. He was runner-up at this year’s Masters and the 2018 Open Championship. He’s finished in the top 6 in his first two U.S. Opens, as well.

    He was a PGA TOUR rookie ranked 135th in the FedExCup when he finished fifth at Erin Hills. He won his first PGA TOUR title, at The Greenbrier Classic, shortly after. He won the TOUR Championship later that year.

    He was sixth in last year’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.

    Schauffele is fourth in this season’s FedExCup thanks to wins at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions and Sentry Tournament of Champions.

    This is the second time in three years that he’s started the U.S. Open with a 66. He also shot that score in 2017.

    “All you can do in a major is try to get off to a good start, so that's what we did so pretty pleased with the day,” he said.

    Sean Martin manages PGATOUR.COM’s staff of writers as the Lead, Editorial. He covered all levels of competitive golf at Golfweek Magazine for seven years, including tournaments on four continents, before coming to the PGA TOUR in 2013. Follow Sean Martin on Twitter.

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