Xander Schauffele is trying to make history and exorcise demons at The Masters this weekend.
Schauffele has won 9 times on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour in his 8 year career, but majors have so far eluded him despite having six top-5 finishes.
Two of Schauffele’s best attempts at securing a major title came at The Masters in 2019 and 2021.
In 2019, Schauffele birdied 8, 9, 11, 13, and 14 on Sunday in his attempt to chase down Tiger claiming his fifth green jacket. Despite carding a 68 Schauffele had to settle for a T-2 alongside Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka.
Xander Schauffele was once again in contention at the 2021 Masters.
Fast forward two years and Schauffele was hunting down Hideki Matsuyama and the then-rookie, Will Zalatoris. Opportunity loomed for Schauffele when Matsuyama put his approach on 15 through the green and into the water; resulting in a bogey.
Matsuyama went on to drop shots at 16 and 18 which left him on -10 for the tournament. Schauffele was in solid contention on Sunday afternoon before making a triple bogey 7 on the 16th hole, bringing his realistic chance of winning the major to an end.
The current world number 7 bounced back later in the year to win the Olympic Gold Medal in Tokyo, but to this day remains without a major victory.
Xander Schauffele started the 2023 Masters with a 4-under 68 leaving him perfectly poised to chase down the leaders at 7-under. With four top-10 finishes already this season, Schauffele’s current form and track record at Augusta National means this is one of his best chances at securing his first major victory.
Schauffele adopted a conservative approach on the new look 13th hole today. His lie for the approach into the green was on the fringe of the pine straw which necessitated a lay up to secure a sensible par.
Schauffele’s opening round of 68 is a particularly good feat considering he is paired with Tiger Woods for Thursday and Friday’s rounds.
Historically, players in this pairing suffer from the ‘Tiger Curse’ and struggle to post competitive scores whilst being swept up in the circus which follows the 15-time major champion.
Schauffele will be hoping the rain keeps at bay and allows him to keep up the good momentum and crystallize on his quick start.