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14D AGO

Scottie Scheffler overcomes triple bogey at Muirfield Village, positioned for fifth victory of season

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    Written by Paul Hodowanic @PaulHodowanic

    DUBLIN, Ohio – It’s a testament to Scottie Scheffler that one poor shot is somehow more surprising than a string of phenomenal ones, but that’s the air the runaway world No. 1 currently occupies. Excellence is expected, anything else is unusual.

    It was shocking to see Scheffler blade a greenside bunker shot into the water on the par-5 fifth hole on Saturday at Muirfield Village and make bogey. It was even more confounding to watch him blow his tee shot out of bounds on the ninth and make triple bogey.


    Scottie Scheffler makes tough triple bogey at the Memorial


    Yet, when Scheffler picked up his ball out of the cup on the 18th green for a closing bogey, he still held a four-shot lead at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, firmly in pole position for his fifth victory this season.

    That surprised nobody.

    Scheffler flirted with danger for much of the third round, hitting errant shots uncharacteristic of his recent form. But he snatched it right back whenever it seemed as if he relinquished control. Scheffler leads the PGA TOUR in bounce-back percentage and needed every bit of that ability. He shot 1-under 71 and followed each of his bogeys (the 18th, notwithstanding) with a birdie.


    Scottie Scheffler hits it close to set up birdie at the Memorial


    “Obviously, I wish I could have 18 back, but overall I think I played pretty solid," Scheffler said. "Just got a couple bad breaks and it's going to happen around this golf course. I mean, the golf course is really challenging.”

    Unnerving but effective, Scheffler managed his way around a difficult Muirfield Village Golf Club that played more than a shot over par on Saturday. There were 24 double bogeys and five triple bogeys or worse. Schefler made one of those five, but he’s the only golfer in the field to card three consecutive under-par rounds.

    With a victory, Scheffler would be the first to win five times in a season since Justin Thomas in 2016-17. They’ve come at the best events on the PGA TOUR – one major and four Signature Events. His lead in the FedExCup and Official World Golf Ranking were practically insurmountable before this week and will be regardless of what transpires in the final round.

    Scheffler has a chance to bring his year full circle if he closes the deal on Sunday. At last year’s Memorial, Scheffler’s putting was put under the microscope. Scheffler had the second-best ball striking performance of anyone in the previous 20 years on the PGA TOUR, gaining 20.7 strokes over the field from tee to green. Yet he finished one shot behind winner Viktor Hovland. Why? Scheffler lost 8.5 shots to the field putting. This year? Scheffler has gained more than three strokes on the green through three rounds.

    It’s the story of Scheffler’s 2024. The putting inhibited the Texan from truly breaking through last year, but the switch to a mallet putter, combined with his work with Phil Kenyon, has eliminated the only weakness from Scheffler’s game. That improvement, alongside his consistently superb iron play, has carried him this season and on Saturday.


    Scottie Scheffler escapes fairway bunker to set up birdie at the Memorial


    Scheffler made birdies at the second and third holes, sticking his approach just inside eight feet on both occasions. He was flawless with his first four approach shots before he blasted his second shot into a greenside bunker on the fifth hole. That’s where Scheffler’s first mistake came. He bladed the shot over the green and into the water. He did well to save a bogey, holing an 8-footer to relinquish just one shot. He regained the shot quickly, stuffing his approach from a fairway bunker to seven feet on the par-4 sixth.

    On the narrow ninth hole, Scheffler pulled his tee shot left, and the ball bounced off a tree and out of bounds, leading to a triple bogey. He stepped on the 10th tee, ripped a drive straight down the fairway, carved his approach to 9 feet and sunk the putt. Scheffler added birdies at 12 and 15 before three-putting the 18th green, his first three-putt in 154 holes, for a bogey.

    That dropped his lead to four shots, with Adam Hadwin, Collin Morikawa and Sepp Straka chasing at 6-under. Scheffler will be paired with Morikawa, a repeat of the final pairing at this year’s Masters.

    Plenty of golfers have overcome similar margins to win, but it’s hard to imagine Scheffler falling back to the field. Saturday is evidence.

    “I don't know if I have a chance tomorrow,” said Hadwin, searching for his win in seven years. “You know, you give four shots to the best player in the world, it's kind of difficult.”

    “If Scottie does what Scottie does, it's hard to beat him,” Straka said.

    It’s been that way for the better part of 2024. Nobody is surprised anymore.

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