Scheffler takes one stroke lead into bid for fourth win of year

rugby20 April 2024 05:00| © AFP

Masters champion Scottie Scheffler takes a one stroke lead into Sunday's final round of the PGA Tour's RBC Heritage after his eight-under third round of 63 put him in pole position for a fourth win of the year.

World No 1 Scheffler leads by a stroke from Austrian Sepp Straka who shot 67 at Harbour Town, Hilton Head on Saturday.

Two of Scheffler's final round rivals from last week's battle at Augusta National, Collin Morikawa and Masters runner-up Ludvig Aberg are also in the mix.

Morikawa is two shots back of Scheffler after his 68 while Sweden's Aberg is a further stroke back after carding his 68.

But the outcome is in Scheffler's hands as he looks to add to his wins in March at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, The Players Championship and last week's Masters for a fourth title in five starts.

There has been no sign of a hangover from Scheffler's impressive win at Augusta, and he has grown into the tournament with his best round coming on Saturday.

Scheffler was bogey-free and made five birdies on his front nine before adding three more after the turn, including signing off with a six-foot putt for birdie on the 18th.

"I felt like my ball-striking was really good today. Hit a lot of greens. I played the par-5s well. The par-3s I felt like today were playing very challenging, and I played the par-3s really well," he said.

"Overall it was a good effort. Proud of the score today," he added.

The 27-year-old Texan's second win at Augusta appears to have moved him from the category of highly respected player to a fan favourite and Scheffler said he has noticed a change in the crowds.

"It was really interesting, on No 1, the grandstand behind was packed when I was on the tee box, and then by the time we got to the green, I turned around and it was almost empty. It felt to me like the crowd was coming with me today, and there was definitely a lot of cheers out there, and it's nice to have their support," he said.

While Scheffler is not a demonstrative player, he said fans should realise that isn't indicative of his attitude towards his supporters.

"I've always enjoyed playing in front of a crowd. It may not look like I'm paying much attention to them out there, but I can feel their energy, and it's great to have the support," he said.


Straka, however, has his eye on a third PGA Tour win after his victory at the John Deere Classic last year and the Honda Classic in 2022.

It was a tidy, bogey-free round from the Vienna native which was lifted by birdies at 16 and the final hole, where he drained a 16-footer.

The 30-year-old, part of Europe's victorious Ryder Cup team last year, will go head-to-head with Scheffler on Sunday but said he isn't going to let that impact him.

"I think I'm just going to stick to my game. It's always fun to watch him play. It's incredible what he's doing right now. I am just looking forward to battling it out," he said.

Morikawa has put his final round disappointment at Augusta behind him with some solid consistent golf and while a bogey on the par-4 16th slightly undid his effort, he was in upbeat mood.

"I absolutely want to win. There's no reason why – you look at the past two weeks, I've given myself chances, it's time to close one out," he said.

Aberg is looking to crown his rise to No 7 in the world with his first win on the tour this season but knows he faces another tough task in trying to beat Scheffler.

"I think we're all expecting him to be there with the way that he's been playing," Aberg said. "All I try to do is focus on myself and make sure that I hit the shots the way I want to and then see where that takes me."