The world’s best golfer, Scottie Scheffler, is off to a promising start at Colonial

·3 min read
Tony Gutierrez/AP

Scottie Scheffler wasn’t officially in the field for the Charles Schwab Challenge until last week. He committed on Friday, the same day he missed the cut at the PGA Championship.

Scheffler wasn’t happy to be sitting at his home in Dallas over the weekend, of course, but a few days off didn’t seem to hurt. He was among the early leaders coming out of the morning wave at Colonial, firing a 4-under 66 on Thursday.

“I felt like I did a really good job of managing myself around the golf course,” said Scheffler, the top-ranked golfer and reigning Masters champion. “Anytime you make no bogeys, it’s going to be a good round.”

Scheffler, who started off No. 10, found himself in a precarious position early in his round. On the par-5 11th, he went wide left off the tee. His ball bounced off a hospitality tent, settling in near the 12th green.

Scheffler punched out and saved par that hole.

“I tried to hit like a hard cut and I hit a draw, so that for starters is not good,” he said. “Then it hit somewhere on that tent and went way left. I don’t know if that’s a good break, bad — whatever it is, I got it back in the fairway and I really could have made birdie from where I was. Thankfully it was a par-5.”

Scheffler went on to make a birdie on No. 14 and then back-to-back birdies on Nos. 17 and 18. He drained a 30-footer for birdie on No. 17, and had a tap-in birdie putt following a terrific approach shot from 146 yards on No. 18.

Scheffler made one birdie on his second nine, courtesy of another strong approach shot on No. 7 to within 3 feet.

For Scheffler, it’s a strong start at a tournament where he hasn’t had much success. He finished tied for 55th in 2020 and missed the cut last year.

Along with Scheffler, the morning wave saw other major champions post 4-under 66s by Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson. Harold Varner III also shot a 4-under 66 in the morning. Nick Taylor, Chris Kirk, Cam Davis and Beau Hossler joined the 4-under crew in the afternoon wave as the tournament had an eight-way tie for the lead after Day 1.

Reed made five birdies, including on all four par-3s, and one bogey on the day. His best birdie came on the par-3 fourth as he holed out from a greenside bunker.

“To go around and birdie all four of the par-3s always helps,” said Reed, whose best finish at Colonial is a tie for seventh in 2020.

“I was able to attack the par-3s today and I was able to go around there in 4-under. I think that really helps kind of leading into the week and leading into the day because there’s some demanding holes out there.”

Simpson, meanwhile, made six birdies to two bogeys. Varner’s day was highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 11th.

Varner opened the 2020 Colonial as the co-leader after Day 1 with a 7-under 63 before fading for a 19th-place finish.

“It’s a great start, but we understand that it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Varner said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge. Nothing spectacular. I like this place. I think my scores prove that.”

Round 2 gets underway at 7:20 a.m. Friday with the Golf Channel airing coverage from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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