Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Scheffler five clear as RBC Heritage goes into Monday finish – News – Irish Golf Desk

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Scottie Scheffler saved a miraculous par in fading light to take a five-stroke into his last three holes of the weather-delayed RBC Heritage at Hilton Head.

The Masters champion, bidding for his fourth win in five starts, found water hit his approach left into water at the par-five 15th after heavy rain led to a two hour and 32-minute suspension at Harbour Town Golf Links.

A bogey looked on the cards, but Scheffler hit a 127-yard fourth that spectacularly spun back to 11 feet.

The hooter sounded to signal that players could mark or finish the hole as play was suspended due to darkness.

But Scheffler opted to finish and clenched his fist as he made the left to right breaking par putt to remain four-under for his final round and five clear ahead of today’s scheduled 8 amresumption (1 pm Irish time).

“Well, I hit a really nice shot in there, so I felt like I had good momentum,” Scheffler said of his decision to finish out.

“I kind of knew what the putt was doing. I felt like today was a day where I hit a lot of really good putts and they weren’t really dropping. 

“I felt like I was due for one to drop. So I figured I might as well hit it now.”

He added: “Well, I felt like the par was pretty important tonight, just being able to go to sleep and still keeping a clean card. 

“I felt like I got a bad break there in the fairway. I haven’t had to hit a shot like that in a long time, so I figured there must have been mud on the bottom of the ball. Just nice to keep the card clean.”

Scheffler went into the final round leading by one stroke from Austria’s Sepp Straka as he bid to become the first man to win four times in a five-event stretch since Tiger Woods in early 2008.

He soon opened up a lead, chipping in for an unlikely eagle three at the second before making further birdies at the fifth and 13th as the chasing pack struggled.

The American spent some of the weather delay monitoring Nelly Korea’s successful bid to win the Chevron Championship for her fifth win in a row.

“Well, I actually was checking the scores this afternoon when we were in the rain delay, and she finished, I think, T16 in her first event this year, and the other five she’s won,” he said. “I don’t know if I can quite relate to that. That’s some pretty serious golf. 

“I’m extremely happy for her and proud of her. That’s some pretty special stuff. It’s been a treat to watch.”

Scheffler was five shots ahead of clubhouse leader Wyndham Clark, who got to 17 under by playing his first 11 holes in eight under before dropping four shots in his next four holes.

The US Open champion recovered to birdie the 16th and 17th and card a six-under 65 that set the target at 15 under.

He was joined on that mark by Sahith Theegala (15 holes) and JT Poston and Patrick Cantlay, who will resume play on the last today.

Poston opted not to putt out on the 18th in fading light as Cantlay bizarrely played the difficult second to the last in cold, windy weather before opting to mark and finish his round today.

Cantlay was playing alongside West Waterford’s Seamus Power, who was tied for 12th on 11-under, one-over for the day, playing the last.

Unlike Cantlay, Power opted to mark rather than take on a 225-yard approach into the wind over water.

Power made three birdies and two bogeys in his front nine but bogeyed the 14th and 16th after the resumption as the temperature plummeted.

Rory McIlroy three putted the last from 19 feet for his second double bogey of the day as he closed with a three-over 74 to finish tied 34th in the clubhouse on seven-under.

The Holywood star found water and double-bogeyed the 187-yard fourth before making his lone birdie at the par-five fifth.

Conditions were so difficult when play resumed that McIlroy hit his drive just 264 yards at the 18th before coming up 45 yards short with his 199-yard approach.

It was also a tough day for Shane Lowry, who struggled on the greens and carded a four-over 75 to finish tied 64th on one-over.

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