Coming back to defend his title at the Travelers Championship could be just what Xander Schauffele needs to turn his momentum around.
About 20 minutes after Rickie Fowler set the U.S. Open scoring record with a 62 in round one, Schauffele matched that score to take the 18-hole co-lead.
It was a master class for a couple players so desperately seeking their first major. Both are Californians who were looking to get it done in their home state.
While Fowler remained on top through 54 holes and was a factor from nearly start to finish, Schauffele went the other way. He posted a respectable even-par 70 on Friday to stick near the lead heading into the weekend, but finishing 3-under-par and in T-10th after starting out at 8-under was a bit of a disappointment.
Poor putting and short game stats mixed with some squirrelly shots on the weekend spelled his doom. For a player who’s so well-rounded week in and week out on the PGA Tour, he has to feel dejected that his game comes up just shy on big stages like this.
Nonetheless, it’s another yellow box on a Wikipedia page full of them. Schauffele recorded his 11th top 10 in 25 major starts. It was also his sixth straight made cut, all of which were T-18th or better.
The X-Man extended his top-25 streak to eight. He owns the longest active cut streak on the PGA Tour at 27. Next longest is 21.
Last year at the Travelers Championship, Schauffele posted 63-63-67-68 (-19) to match the lowest 72-hole score since 2011.
It was his third made cut, all of which were top-20s, in four starts at TPC River Highlands.
The 29-year-old ranks fifth on the PGA Tour in total strokes gained per round (2.022). He’s also sixth in SG approach (.916) and is 63rd or better in each category.
Schauffele is also first in approach proximity from 150-175 yards (23’4”).
The only player I see beating Schauffele this week is the one whose name is most similar to his.