Scottie Scheffler finds himself in a familiar position at the Tour Championship.
For the second straight year, the Texan finds himself atop the staggered start leaderboard. Last year proved that a head start far from equates to a title, although he held on for as long as he could until Rory McIlroy surged past him in a thrilling final round.
Perhaps Scheffler has learned from the past, but I once again see him falling just shy of that lucrative FedEx Cup prize.
He’ll still be paid quite handsomely for third place where I’ve got him slotted. How would $5 million sound to you?
Scheffler has never played his best golf at East Lake nor his worst. His debut saw him finish fifth on the official net leaderboard and second on the unofficial gross leaderboard when he carded 71-66-66-65.
He took T-22nd (T-17th) and T-2nd (T-13th) the last two years.
"“East Lake is a great golf course. It’s challenging in spots,” Scheffler was transcribed by ASAP Sports in 2021. “You can get it in some spots. I think it’s kind of one of those places where if you’re playing really well, it can kind of open up for you. You usually see a couple really low rounds a day there and you’ll see some guys struggle, as well. I think it’s a pretty good test next week.”"
Scheffler was in prime position to win his third event of the season last week at the BMW Championship until Viktor Hovland’s course-record 61 stole the show at Olympia Fields. Scheffler settled for T-2nd with rounds of 66-69-64-66 to finish two shots back.
Scheffler is back inside the top 12 after his lofty streak of 19 events of such results was snapped a few events ago.
A lack of a major in 2023 might make it tough for Scheffler to earn PGA Tour Player of the Year honors, but a win could help the cause of a man who’s statistically been the best week in and week out. He just doesn’t have the wins that the stats would warrant.
The former Texas Longhorn is tops this season in total strokes gained per round (2.502), first in SG off-the-tee (1.051), first in SG approach-to-green (1.3), and first in SG tee-to-green (2.742).
He led the field last week in total SG off-the-tee (5.289) and on approach (8.033). Once again, it was the putter that let him down (38th, -1.891).
Scheffler is an ideal ball-striking fit to do well this week at East Lake. He’s young and fit enough, too, to handle the heat and high stakes.
I just don’t see him making enough putts to take home the big prize.