Scheffler plummets while Lowry, Rose, DeChambeau, Hovland rise at PGA Championship

The third round of the 2024 PGA Championship was as exciting as skydiving, and yet nobody left the ground.
Scottie Scheffler, Brad Payne - 2024 PGA Championship
Scottie Scheffler, Brad Payne - 2024 PGA Championship / Ross Kinnaird/GettyImages

First, it was a comprehensive collapse for Masters champ Scottie Scheffler.

Possibly the events of Friday were still weighing on his mind. They would be for most people. He went from 4th place after round two to 24th place after round three, making five bogeys and a double.

Shane Lowry, on the other hand, tied the low scoring record for majors by posting a 62. He matched four rounds of 62 that have been shot in majors: Xander Schauffele, this week in round one and at last year’s U.S. Open, also in round one; Rickie Fowler at last year’s U.S. Open, in round one; and Branden Grace in the 2017 British Open in round three.

Lowry, if you can believe it, said he was disappointed.

“I enjoyed every minute of it, obviously. Probably the most disappointed anyone can ever be shooting 62,” he said after his round. “I went out there with a job to do today, and my job was to try to get myself back in the tournament, and I definitely did that.”

He played with Justin Rose.

“Pretty average compared to Shane, my playing partner,” Rose quipped after his round. “Felt like we got off to the dream start.”

He noted that there was urgency to keep up the momentum so that he would have a chance tomorrow. According to Rose, Shane was getting irritated because he couldn’t get the honor away from Rose.

“It's a perfect day for golf. The ball is going a mile. It's warm. Greens are soft. Nice pace to make putts,” Rose added.

He said he had a weird feeling he was going to shoot 61, but it was Shane who really went low. Rose had a 64.

Lowry’s 62 came as a 29 on the front side and a 33 on the back, but even that effort didn’t put him in the lead.

The first four holes predicted Scottie Scheffler’s fall at the PGA Championship.

He was in tall rough on the second hole, so tall that it took him two shots to get out.  Uncharacteristically, he pulled a putt at the third. Then he hit over the green and under a fence, into a hazard, at the 4th. 

In the first hour of his play, he lost five shots to the field. He went from being in the top 10 to being in the mid-30s. In the midst of the recoveries, he even chunked a couple of shots. It was like someone else was taking up residence in Scottie Scheffler’s body.

Meanwhile, leapfrogging golfers came to the fore with several rising almost to the top, like Lowry, Bryson DeChambeau, and Viktor Hovland. Sahith Theegala came close, climbing all the way to third place.

Everyone was in attack mode. While Shane Lowry made six birdies on the front side, Justin Rose made five, and Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau both found four.  

“I've got a good chance,” DeChambeau said after finishing. “I'm not executing to the level that I know I can, but playing well enough to give myself a chance.”

Xander Schauffele mostly made pars, except for the 15th, which was a double. That gave Collin Morikawa a chance to take the lead, temporarily.

A lot of players who are not on the tip of anyone’s tongue showed up with birdies. Sahith Theegala. Dean Burmester. Robert MacIntyre. Taylor Moore. Matt Wallace.  At one time, there were 12 golfers within four shots of the lead. It was easy to get leaderboard whiplash, looking at one, then the other, then another.

By day’s end, Morikawa and Schauffele had the lead, by one over Theegala and by two over Lowry, Hovland, and DeChambeau.  

Justin Rose, playing with Lowry, posted 31 for the first nine and ended up in 7th place, just three back of the lead.

Scheffler ended up with a 73. It was his first over par round of 2024. 

McIlroy, currently T-19, had a six-hole stretch on the back nine where he couldn’t get a putt to drop.

“Depending on what happens tomorrow, that's sort of the -- if I look back on the tournament, I may rue that six-hole stretch where I wasn't able to hole any putts,” he said after he was done for the day. “I need the putter to sort of heat up again, and with everything else it's doing, there's certainly another low one in me.” 

So, which skydiver will float to the ground gracefully and hit the bullseye, and who will land in tree limbs? We just don’t know until tomorrow. 

For Xander Schauffele, it could be his first major; for Collin Morikawa, his third.

Next. A PGA with underlying tensions. A PGA Championship with underlying tensions. light

For Bryson DeChambeau, it could be his second, and there would be other issues having to do with LIV. Shane Lowry and Justin Rose would be looking at a second major and Viktor Hovland and Sahith Theegala might celebrate their first.   

There was a chance that Scottie Scheffler would be looking at his third, but it’s likely that went away Friday early morning. He’s now too many shots back to have a realistic chance to win this PGA Championship.