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COVERAGE: Scheffler In Control Of Game At Memorial Tournament



Photo credit: Pittsburgh Golf Now/Julia Wingard

DUBLIN, Ohio — The top-ranked golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking Scottie Scheffler had a strong start to his Memorial Tournament, posting a 5-under par 67 as he looks to generate one last boost of momentum heading into next week’s U.S. Open.

“I think it’s always great coming here to play,” Scheffler stated Thursday afternoon. “The golf course is always in great shape. I can’t remember a year when the greens weren’t really good, and the fairways weren’t in great shape and the rough was high.

“They always do a great job here agronomy-wise getting the course going and it’s a treat to be able to play in this tournament on Jack’s golf course as well.”

Scheffler ranked second in Strokes Gained: Off The Tee and hit 12 of 14 fairways. And long gone are the days from last year where his putting ranked last in the field.

Both Scheffler and his playing partner Ludvig Aberg got their respective rounds off on the right foot with birdies on the first hole. Scheffler’s putt was 29’5″ and came on top of Aberg’s three.

Scheffler’s proximity in the opening three holes proved to make a difference and a putt on the par-3 fourth hole challenged the hole but fell wide.

His lone blemish on the scorecard came on the fifth hole, Muirfield Village Golf Club’s first of three par-5’s on the course.

Scheffler fell victim to a mud ball on his second shot, short-siding himself well off the green.

“It was on the top to right side of the ball, and it was pretty aggressive. I aimed it 60 yards from where the ball ended up. It’s one of those deals where it’s, like, I hit it in the middle of the fairway and I basically — on that hole specifically, I did not have a good shot to hit.

“Because of the mud on the ball, you have absolutely no control over where it’s going to go. If I tried to lay it up, there’s nowhere really for me to lay it up. Hindsight, maybe I could have aimed it down the middle of the creek and just see where it would have went and maybe it goes in one of the fairways.”

Mud balls would be prevalent across the field as the course received over half an inch of rain Wednesday evening.

When Scheffler arrived, the course was playing firm. He expects that firmness to return provided the weather can hold, which will make the course play even more difficult.

Scheffler’s back nine proved to be where he made the move on the leaderboard starting with a 19-footer for birdie on the 11th hole. His birdie on 13 came from just outside of nine feet and his efforts on 15 and in front of ever-growing gallery on 18, fired a shot 18 inches from the hole.

Though it was not discussed following the round, this was Scheffler’s first round since four charges were dropped stemming from an incident which occurred prior to the second round of the PGA Championship.

Security was very attentive in case it needed to intervene, but there was not too much to write home about in that regard.

One fan on the front side within ear shot blamed Scheffler for “costing me $4,000”. Another couple of fans were spotted wearing ‘Free Scottie Scheffler’ shirts and security multiple times were in the vicinity to ensure the two did not interact.

The focus though, and rightfully so was on Scheffler’s golf, of which he finished one shot behind leader Adam Hadwin upon completion of the opening 18 holes.

While Scheffler’s start at the Memorial Tournament has always been a given, he admits that he rarely plays tournaments held the week before a major.

Scheffler did it on one occasion and it did not go well, although he does play the Scottish Open the week before the Open Championship.

All told, Scheffler is in a great place as he looks for his first Memorial Tournament title, the $4 million first prize and of course the tradition handshake with Jack Nicklaus.

“Going out this morning, a little softer greens, a little softer fairways, and was able to put up a good score,” concluded Scheffler. “It felt like I hit a lot of quality shots today, it felt like my ball striking was really good, and I was able to hole a few putts as well, so overall, pretty pleased with the round today.”

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