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15D AGO

Scottie Scheffler misses 5-foot putt to force playoff in Houston, falls short of third straight TOUR win

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    It is said that good things come in threes. Wins do not, apparently.

    Scottie Scheffler fell one shot short of his third consecutive PGA TOUR victory on Sunday at the Texas Children’s Houston Open, missing birdie putts of 11 and 5 feet on the final two holes to lose to Stephan Jaeger by one at Memorial Park Golf Course.

    Scheffler, the runaway world No. 1, spent much of the afternoon in prime position to make it three in a row. Given how he closed the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard and THE PLAYERS Championship, it was almost expected that Scheffler would find a way to outlast a crowded leaderboard filled with players without a PGA TOUR win.


    Scottie Scheffler sticks tee shot to set up birdie at Houston Open


    But the timely putt or approach shot Scheffler converted en route to his previous two wins didn’t materialize. Scheffler, who entered the day with a share of the lead at 10-under alongside Jaeger, played the final nine in even par to shoot 68. Jaeger played the same stretch in even par, but four birdies on his front nine powered him to a final-round 67 to claim his maiden PGA TOUR title at 12-under.

    The putter, which drove Scheffler’s recent success, cost him during the closing holes. He missed three birdie putts inside 20 feet on the back nine and didn’t make a putt longer than 11 feet all day. He lost strokes on the green for just the fourth time in his last 12 rounds.

    Scheffler will rue more than just the Sunday putting performance. He made a pair of uncharacteristic mistakes earlier in the week, including a “frustrating lapse in judgment” on the 18th on Friday, where he missed a 2-foot tap-in that led to a double bogey. On Saturday, he made another double bogey, spinning his tee shot off the green and into the water on the par-3 15th.

    Despite those mistakes, Scheffler still had a chance to win on the 72nd hole, a testament to his incredibly high floor. He stuffed his approach shot to 5 feet, 5 inches on the closing par 4, seemingly a sign that he was ready to take a stranglehold of a tournament one more time. When Jaeger missed his lengthy birdie putt, Scheffler had the chance to send the event to extra holes. But a putt Scheffler expected to stay straight broke hard to the right: a misread and a missed opportunity.

    “I feel like I made the putt, and I looked up, and it was breaking off,” said Scheffler, whose lead in the FedExCup ballooned to over 900 points with the runner-up. Wyndham Clark is the only player within 1200 points. Scheffler has finished in the top 10 in seven of his eight starts this season, including five top fives.

    Scheffler could blame any number of shots for leaving Houston empty-handed. His post-round media session mostly focused on the short birdie putt on 18. But the actual reason may have come with Scheffler’s last sentence before he walked off.

    “I'm pretty beat now from another long week,” he said.

    For the third time in four weeks, Scheffler walked up to the 72nd green with a chance to win. It’s physically taxing, but more so mentally. It’s the part of the game Scheffler loves most but also what takes the most out of him. He captured the moment on the 72nd hole in his previous two times.

    On Sunday, he didn’t. He’s onto the next. There will be more opportunities for an undeniable talent like Scheffler. He's won twice this season and eight times in less than three years. The next one will likely come soon.

    Scheffler will take a week to rest before returning to action at Augusta National, where he will undoubtedly enter as the favorite, searching for his second Masters title and the start of another win streak.

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