Playing links golf for just the second time, Scottie Scheffler again in position to win first title at British Open

·3 min read

There’s always a first time.

For Scottie Scheffler, his initial encounter with links golf came last week in the Scottish Open. The Texas lad quickly adapted to the different style of the game at The Renaissance Club in North Berwick, Scotland, finishing in a tie for 12th.

And now, a few days later in the British Open at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England, he’s in position to win his first major and break his PGA Tour maiden.

Scheffler canned a 15-footer for par on his final hole Friday and has put together rounds of 67-66 that has left him in a tie for fourth through 36 holes, four shots behind pace-setter Louis Oosthuizen.

“Last week was actually my first time to the United Kingdom, so I’m pretty fresh over here,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed it so far. The weather has been good. I really like links golf and it’s been fun coming out here, playing, seeing, creating shots, really just having fun.

“I really didn’t change much. I just had to figure out how I play shots on this grass. I never played on this type of grass before. That was the biggest adjustment. I’ve always done well on courses that are firm and fast, and so I wasn’t too worried about coming over to play links golf the first time. Just needed to figure out the bunkers and the grass around the greens.”

The last player to win the British Open in their debut was Ben Curtis in 1993 – at Royal St. George’s. Despite his lack of experience, Scheffler sounds like an old veteran when asked about his approach to playing Royal St. George’s.

“First things first, you got to get the ball in the fairway, especially on a new golf course where I’m not as in tune to where and where not to put my golf ball,” Scheffler, 25, said. “So, getting the ball in play is really important. I feel like I’ve gotten a really good feel for the positions on this golf course and where I need to attack and kind of play a little bit safe.

“I feel like my game is trending in the right direction this week.”

It’s been trending in the right direction for some time. Scheffler has been knocking on the door named victory for nearly two years. And it seems the bigger the stage, the bigger the tall Texan’s game gets.

This year he finished in a tie for fifth in the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship, lost to Billy Horschel in the final of the WGC-Match Play, and finished third in the Memorial.

His major record isn’t shabby, either. He tied for fourth in the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park, tied for 18th in this year’s Masters, tied for eighth in the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island and tied for seventh in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

The collegiate and amateur standout who is ranked No. 19 in the world has come accustomed to answering questions about his thoughts of winning his first PGA Tour title.

“I kind of think (about) that going into every tournament,” he said. “I’m always looking to try and win golf tournaments, and it’s nice to be able to put myself in a position to win this one. We’re only halfway there. I think I’m four shots back going into the weekend, so I got a lot of work to do.”