A look back at all of Scottie Scheffler’s 54-hole leads on the PGA Tour
Scottie Scheffler is on the precipice of winning his first Players Championship.
The five-time PGA Tour winner leads at 14 under after 54 holes at TPC Sawgrass. Scheffler shot a third-round 4-under 66, which included birdies on Nos. 16 and 18 to give him a two-stroke advantage over Min Woo Lee heading into the final round.
“Feeling very comfortable,” Scheffler, who can return to No. 1 in the world with a win at The Players, said after Saturday’s round. “Put in a lot of hard work over the years, and it’s been a blessing to see so many results. It’s been a lot of fun. Hoping to continue that going into tomorrow.”
Maybe the reason Scheffler feels confident heading into the final round is because this isn’t his first rodeo with a 54-hole lead on Tour. Prior to The Players this year, the 26-year-old Texan has slept on six Day 3 leads but has only converted them into wins twice.
Let’s revisit those half-dozen times.
2020 American Express: In Scheffler’s first season on Tour, he found himself tied for the lead Saturday night. However, Scheffler fizzled on the opening six holes with three bogeys. Andrew Landry, despite blowing a six-stroke lead on the back nine Sunday, held on for the win. Abe Ancer, meanwhile, matched the course record with a 63, therefore, Scheffler finished solo third with a final-round 70.
2021 Houston Open: A few months after helping Team USA to a historic Ryder Cup beatdown at Whistling Straits, it appeared the former Texas Longhorn was due to claim his maiden Tour win, as he led by one after three rounds. But a final-round 10-under 69 at Memorial Park wouldn’t be enough. Jason Kokrak closed with a 65 and Scheffler placed T-2.
2022 Masters: It didn’t take long for Scheffler to put Houston in his rearview mirror. He notched his maiden win at the WM Phoenix Open in February and then won two more times in 42 days, rising to world No. 1. Then, at the Masters, he grabbed a three-shot 54-hole lead despite a gripping closing bogey on Saturday.
He “cried like a baby” ahead of the final round, wondering if he was ready to be a major champion, and he was. Scheffler’s final-round 71 was enough for him to have Hideki Matsuyama slip the green jacket over Scheffler’s shoulders on Sunday night at Augusta National.
2022 Charles Schwab Challenge: A week after missing the PGA Championship’s cut, Scheffler regained his dominance, racing out to a two-stroke lead after three days. But on Sunday, after shooting 71, he’d find himself in a playoff with Sam Burns, his best friend. Burns then completed a seven-shot comeback by canning a 38-foot putt.
2022 Tour Championship: Scheffler started his Sunday by birdieing four of six holes to finish the storm-delayed third round with a 66 and build a six-shot lead. A few hours later, though, things went much differently.
Scheffler made only one birdie in a closing 73. Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, was 10 of Scheffler back after his first two holes of Round 4. However, the Northern Irishman rallied for a finishing 4-under 66 to set the record for the largest-ever Tour Championship comeback and claim the Tour’s season-long FedExCup title.
“I just didn’t get off to a good start early, but after that I grinded as hard as I could,” Scheffler said. “For whatever reason my swing wasn’t where it had been the first few days this week.”
2023 WM Phoenix Open: Exactly one year since Scheffler claimed his maiden victory, he secured a two-stroke lead after Day 3 and cruised in the final round with a closing 65 for a two-stroke win over Nick Taylor. It was his first win since the Masters and he regained world No. 1 by successfully defending his title.
Scheffler can dethrone Rahm for world No. 1 if he holds on to his lead in the final round at the 2023 Players. But more than anything, he just wants to leave the Tour’s flagship event with his sixth win.
“I would much rather win the tournament than get back to No. 1 in the world,” Scheffler said after his third round at TPC Sawgrass. “So my focus going into tomorrow is just going out and having a solid round.”