Scottie Scheffler became the first No. 1 seed not to hold at least a share of the lead in the recent era of the starting-strokes format after the opening round of the Tour Championship.
That was introduced in 2019 and the American birdied three of his first six holes but then the wheels came off, playing the rest of the round in four over for an opening 71. Scheffler ended the day in fourth place on his own, a shot behind Viktor Hovland, Collin Morikawa and Keegan Bradley – Morikawa was the star of day one at East Lake with a nine-under 61, while Bradley, chasing a Ryder Cup pick, was round in 63.
The lowlight of Scheffler’s round was a triple-bogey at the par-3 15th that never looked like staying out of the water and he compounded that by missing a three-footer for a double. Once again his putter saw him give up shots on the field, he ranked bottom in the 30-man field losing more than three strokes with 33 putts, and once again he was asked about it after his round.
Scheffler was back with his Scotty Cameron blade after experimenting with the TaylorMade Spider in recent weeks.
“It’s the putter that I’ve used, for the most part, for my career. It’s the same style that I’ve won all my tournaments with. It’s obviously not the Spider, it’s just the putter that I’ve used. I’m obviously pretty frustrated with how I played. I got off to a pretty good start, and then I had a few 3-putts, which definitely is frustrating, and then I had the bad swing there on the par-3, 15.”
Scheffler also alluded to the unique nature of the tournament – he began this week at 10-under with a two-shot lead over his nearest challenger Viktor Hovland.
“I try to approach each round the same way, but I mean, yeah, it is a bit weird starting a tournament with the lead. I don’t know. It’s definitely an interesting format. I guess it’s a little bit of a blessing to have a pretty bad day and still be in the tournament. So, yeah, go out there and just keep fighting.”
Triple bogey for Scheffler on No. 15.He now trails by two @TOURChamp. pic.twitter.com/JM6FNIFdlcAugust 24, 2023
Last year Scheffler had a six-shot lead on the Sunday, before being reeled in by Rory McIlroy, and…