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PGA Championship: Xander Schauffele ties major record again as Scottie Scheffler eagles first hole as a Dad | CNN

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Xander Schauffele putts on the 14th green during the first round of the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.



CNN
 — 

Only four times in the history of all four men’s major championships has a golfer shot 62. Xander Schauffele is now responsible for the last two.

For the second time in less than a year, the American shot the lowest round score in a major’s history on Thursday, blitzing around Valhalla Golf Club to fly into an early three shot lead at the PGA Championship in Kentucky.

The world No.3 poured in nine birdies en route to a bogey-free nine-under 62, a course record and the best ever shot across the 106 editions of the event after 18 previous 63’s.

Schauffele opened with the same number at the 126th US Open last June, levelling the tournament’s best ever score less than 30 minutes after compatriot Rickie Fowler had set a new low.

“I’ll take a 62 in any major any day,” Schauffele told reporters Thursday.

“It’s a great start to a big tournament. One I’m obviously always going to take … there’s always shots you can kind of pick apart or chips that you can pick apart that you felt like you could have hit better, but I’m very content with how I played.”

Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Schauffele delivered yet another historic round.

Branden Grace is the only other player to have shot as low at a major, the South African breaking the Open Championship record during the third round at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England in 2017.

Ominously though, none of those three historic feats ended in silverware, a fate Schauffele will be desperate to avoid as he chases a long-awaited first major crown.

The 30-year-old is a seven-time PGA Tour winner and regularly challenges for the game’s biggest prizes, recording 12-top 10 major finishes, but risks joining the unwanted ranks of the most talented to never win one of the flagship events should his run of near-misses continue.

He has finished as a major runner-up twice – at the 2018 Open Championship and the 2019 Masters – and suffered the same agony at the hands of world No. 2 Rory McIlroy at last week’s Wells Fargo Championship.

Playing some of the best golf of his career this season, Schauffele is itching to cash in that form for a Wanamaker Trophy come Sunday.

“I think not winning makes you want to win more, as weird as that is,” he said.

“For me, at least, I react to it, and I want it more and more and more, and it makes me want to work harder and harder and harder.

“The top feels far away and I feel like I have a lot of work to do, but just slowly chipping away at it.”

Scottie Scheffler is as likely as any to extend Schauffele’s wait, and made a start that surpassed even his unparalleled expectations.

Playing his very first hole since becoming a father last week, the dominant world No.1 took just two swings to complete the opening par-four, holing out for eagle from 167 yards.

Scheffler shot 67 to pen the latest positive chapter in the unfolding story of a truly remarkable year. The 27-year-old is chasing a fifth win in six starts and a second consecutive major crown after cruising to victory at The Masters last month.

“I’d like to clean up a few of the mistakes,” Scheffler said. “I missed two putts I felt like I should have holed today, but that’s going to happen when the greens get a little chewed up.

“I felt like there was a couple things I can clean up going into tomorrow, but overall today was a solid round.”

Matt York/AP

Scheffler is pursuing a third career major this week.

Tiger Woods had looked on course to make a solid start of his own at his 23rd PGA Championship, only for a closing pair of sloppy three putts to drop him to one-over 72.

The four-time champion signed off with back-to-back bogeys, leaving him with work to do if he is to follow up his record-breaking 24th consecutive Masters cut with another major weekend outing.

“You have to just grind it out. It’s a marathon. Major championships are a long grind … it’s not a sprint,” the 48-year-old said Thursday.

“You can’t win a tournament unless you make the cut. That’s the whole idea is get to the weekend so that you can participate and have a chance to win.

“I’ve been on the cut number and have won tournaments, or I’ve been ahead and leading tournaments and I’ve won tournaments.”

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Woods endured a disappointing end to an otherwise promising round.

American duo Tony Finau and Sahith Theegala lead the chasing pack behind Schauffele after shooting 66, one shot ahead of in-form Northern Irishman McIlroy and his Scottish Ryder Cup teammate Robert MacIntyre.

Defending champion Brooks Koepka was among those to shoot 67 as he hunts a fourth PGA Championship win, two strokes better than grand slam chasing compatriot Jordan Spieth.

Friday’s second round begins at 7:15 a.m. ET (12:15 p.m. BST), with leader Schauffele teeing off at 1:18 p.m. ET (6:15 p.m. BST).

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