Xander Schauffele edges clear of star-studded pack in Texas

Rory McIlroy sits three shots off the lead and says third round without fans was ‘weird’

Xander Schauffele has a one stroke lead in Texas. Photograph: Ronald Martinez/Getty

Xander Schauffele has a one stroke lead in Texas. Photograph: Ronald Martinez/Getty

 

Xander Schauffele offset a late bogey with a closing birdie to sit alone atop a tightly bunched, star-studded leaderboard after the third round of the Charles Schwab Challenge in Forth Worth, Texas on Saturday.

Schauffele, who began the day two shots back of overnight leader Harold Varner III, mixed six birdies with two bogeys to card a four-under-par 66 that left him at 13-under par for the week at a spectator-free Colonial Country Club.

After a two-putt bogey at the par-three 16th where his tee shot settled in the right rough, Schauffele quietly capped his round with an 11-foot birdie putt and later said the absence of fans did not bother him.

“I don’t have like a huge effect on the crowd I’d say, so not having fans isn’t the craziest thing,” said Schauffele. “It just does feel like I’m playing at home with some of my buddies. It’s quiet.

“You make three birdies in a row, you can kind of give yourself a pat on the back. That’s kind of it.”

Sitting one shot back in the first PGA Tour event following a three-month Covid-19 break was a pack of five golfers that included world number four Justin Thomas (66), three-times major winner Jordan Spieth (68) and reigning U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland (66).

Schauffele will face quite a test in his search for a fifth PGA Tour victory as 13 players are within three shots of the lead, including world number one Rory McIlroy (69), former Masters champion Patrick Reed (63) and Varner (70).

Reed wielded a hot putter and began his day with three consecutive birdies, added three more on the trot starting at the ninth and closed with another for the day’s low round.

“I did a lot of things solid the first two days, but I just made too many careless mistakes, so I was trying to clean that up today, and I felt like I did a good job on that and just gave myself a chance with my putter,” said Reed.

Rory McIlroy is three strokes off the lead in Texas. Photograph: Tom Pennington/Getty
Rory McIlroy is three strokes off the lead in Texas. Photograph: Tom Pennington/Getty

McIlroy, who came into the week as the favourite to win after posting six top-10 finishes in six starts this season before tournament play was halted in March, said playing without spectators was starting to feel odd.

“The first couple days it was fine, but definitely today it’s feeling strange,” said McIlroy. “I’m sure tomorrow will feel pretty strange, especially with so many guys in and around the lead.”

Collated third round scores and totals in the Charles Schwab Challenge

(USA unless stated, par 70):

197 Xander Schauffele 65 66 66

198 Justin Thomas 64 68 66, Collin Morikawa 64 67 67, Branden Grace (Rsa) 66 66 66, Gary Woodland 65 67 66, Jordan Spieth 65 65 68

199 Daniel Berger 65 67 67, Harold Varner III 63 66 70

200 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 68 63 69, Abraham Ancer (Mex) 64 70 66, Justin Rose (Eng) 63 69 68, Bryson DeChambeau 65 65 70, Corey Conners (Can) 66 67 67, Patrick Reed 68 69 63

201 JT Poston 68 66 67

202 Jason Kokrak 67 70 65, Mark Hubbard 67 68 67, Bubba Watson 68 66 68, Chesson Hadley 70 68 64, Sungjae Im (Kor) 66 69 67, Cameron Champ 66 71 65

203 Joel Dahmen 68 65 70, Peter Uihlein 69 65 69, Jim Furyk 67 69 67, Ian Poulter (Eng) 66 70 67, Charles Howell III 70 67 66

204 Tony Finau 68 69 67, Maverick McNealy 69 69 66, Brian Harman 65 69 70, Adam Hadwin (Can) 65 71 68, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 68 67 69, Kevin Kisner 67 69 68

205 Brooks Koepka 68 68 69, Bud Cauley 71 67 67, Keegan Bradley 69 69 67, Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 68 68 69, Matt Jones (Aus) 66 70 69, Alex Noren (Swe) 67 71 67, Patrick Rodgers 67 68 70, Tyler Duncan 65 70 70, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 68 69 68

206 Scottie Scheffler 68 69 69, Chris Kirk 68 70 68, Harry Higgs 70 65 71, Lucas Glover 67 70 69, Viktor Hovland (Nor) 70 68 68, Billy Horschel 68 68 70

207 Matthew Wolff 67 69 71, Talor Gooch 68 70 69, Matthew NeSmith 70 67 70, Jason Dufner 68 69 70, Zach Johnson 72 66 69, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 67 71 69, Andrew Landry 68 70 69, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 69 69 69

208 Richy Werenski 72 66 70, Pat Perez 69 69 70, Bronson Burgoon 68 70 70

209 Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 72 65 72, Keith Mitchell 67 71 71

210 Doc Redman 67 70 73, Adam Schenk 66 72 72

211 Denny McCarthy 70 68 73, Scott Piercy 67 71 73, Zac Blair 71 65 75, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 64 74 73

212 Brian Stuard 68 70 74

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.