Xander Schauffele’s candid 3-word reaction to massive Tour Championship deficit
“Not good enough,” Schauffele said of his round afterward.
“Shoot. I missed two short putts coming on the 15th and the 18th. I look up at the board, and if I made those two like I normally would, I would still — I wouldn’t have gained anything on the leader. So not good enough.”
Schauffele missed a five-footer for par at the tricky par-3 15th and then rammed a four-footer almost four feet past the hole on 18.
Yet, he still carded an under-par score on a day when the heat strangled the field at Atlanta.
It looked as if Schauffele would threaten Hovland early on. He made three birdies over his first seven holes and got it to 15-under overall.
But a bogey at the tough par-4 8th derailed his momentum.
He played the rest of his round at even-par, finishing at 14-under for the championship going into Sunday.
Hovland, meanwhile, is at 20-under after blitzing the field with a 4-under 66.
“I know what I need to do,” Schauffele said. “I need to go out and try and put as much pressure on him tomorrow on that front nine as I can and hope for the best.”
Schauffele also knows that the 25-year-old Norwegian phenom is playing exceptionally at the moment.
“He’s just playing unbelievable golf,” Schauffele said of Hovland. “He’s been working really hard. I saw him working hard. I was out late, and he was one of the guys I always saw until dark as well. So, no surprise.”
Schauffele will be paired with Hovland in the final group Sunday, with the FedEx Cup on the line.
The former San Diego State Aztec owns East Lake, as he has the best career score of any player who has ever played the course. But that might not matter much Sunday, as the deficit may prove to be too much to overcome.