Can Anyone Beat Scottie Scheffler at the PGA Championship?
While there are many names on the leaderboard as round two concludes, Scottie Scheffler is the toughest to beat, with perhaps the exception of Bryson DeChambeau.
Challengers to Scheffler include Corey Conners, who has won the Valero Texas Open twice, Viktor Hovland, who has five victories on both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour combined, the biggest of which may be the BMW International, Keegan Bradley, the 2011 PGA Champion whose last victory was the 2022 Zozo after a four-year drought, and several shots back, Justin Rose, a past U.S. Open champ and Olympic Gold medalist.
The advantage that Scottie Scheffler has is that he avoids bogeys.
Most of the way through the second round, he has only one, coming today at the 7th hole.
He has been behind trees, in the rough on numerous occasions, has hit limbs, and yet, he figures out a way to make pars.
At a major championship, pars are anyone’s friend, particularly at a course as tough as Oak Hill Golf Club.
Rory McIlroy has not shown his best stuff this week…
In terms of others who could contend, we would have to go to 11th place to find Shane Lowry, the former British Open champion who went on a birdie barrage late in the day, to 19th to find Collin Morikawa and again to 19th to find Dustin Johnson, winner of a U.S. Open and a Masters.
Scheffler is currently six shots ahead of Brooks Koepka, who played with Scheffler the first two rounds. That’s not to say that Koepka can’t close the gap. He might. But it will be hard to topple Scheffler who seems to just march his way from tee to green posting par after par after par.
Phil Mickelson, for all his bluster, is at 5-over par, one better than the cut line of 6-over. Truly it is astonishing that he made the cut.
Patrick Cantlay is six behind, and while he’s a winner, he’s not a major champ yet. Could he close the gap? Maybe. But Scheffler, based on past performance, isn’t going to fold. He might get beat, but he’s not going down without a fight, and Cantlay would have first-time major nerves.
Rory McIlroy has not shown his best stuff this week, but he clawed his way back from missing the cut to 18th place. Jordan Spieth is still a work in progress and is dangerously close to missing the cut as the day comes to an end.
So, at this juncture, this PGA seems to be Scottie Scheffler’s tournament to win or lose. Will the big Texan get his second major on Sunday? It looks that way now.