‘It feels inevitable at this point’: A dominant Scottie Scheffler takes control of RBC Heritage.. (full details in comment section)⬇️

April 21, 2024

If ever there was a week that the rest of the PGA TOUR thought it could get one over on Scottie Scheffler, it was this week.

Scheffler arrived at the RBC Heritage admittedly drained from an emotionally taxing Masters victory. He didn’t see Harbour Town Golf Links until Wednesday. His first time playing the front nine was during the first round.

Scheffler had already gone back-to-back once this year, winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard and THE PLAYERS Championship, but this was supposed to be the week. This was the week all the stress and energy of constantly being in contention would catch up; the tournament when Scheffler’s mind would assuredly be elsewhere, with his wife Meredith and their soon-to-be-born child back home.

Scheffler is proving circumstances and context don’t matter for him. The world No. 1 trailed by six shots after the first round and trimmed the deficit to three shots by the end of Friday. Then he carded a bogey-free 63 on Saturday that looked routine – expected, even. By day’s end, Scheffler was in first alone at 16-under, to nobody’s surprise. He is one round away from his fourth win in five starts.

A supremely talented group of chasers will hunt Scheffler. Sepp Straka is one back; Collin Morikawa is two behind. Masters runner-up Ludvig Åberg and Sahith Theegala are within three, with Patrick Cantlay and Rory McIlroy within earshot.

It might not matter. Not right now.

“I was going to say it’s hard to go really low, but Scottie shot 8 or 9 (under) or whatever he did,” Theegala said. “He doesn’t count.”

It’s how it feels.

The normal rules don’t apply to Scheffler, and, although he plays the same course as his competitors, he has stood in a league of his own. There’s not much to suggest Sunday will go any different than Sundays of the last two months. Scheffler only elevated his performance when he was in this position. He co-led Bay Hill Club & Lodge after three rounds, then shot 66 on Sunday, the day’s low round, to win by six. Scheffler tied the week’s low round on Sunday at THE PLAYERS to come roaring back and win. And at Augusta National Golf Club last week, Scheffler stayed steady as the rest of the contenders fell victim to the Masters pressure, gliding to a four-shot victory.

“I think when I’m playing my best, sometimes it feels like I’m competing against myself a little bit out there, trying to keep pushing and stay as focused as I can,” Scheffler said. “I felt like the back nine Sunday last week was an example of that where I was just trying to keep pushing forward, pushing forward because the golf course is so challenging, anything can happen, and I wanted to build myself up a cushion.”

On the leaderboard, that cushion is just one stroke entering the final round. In the minds of the chasers, it’s likely more.

“I think we all expect him to play well, and there’s nothing I can do about it,” said Åberg, who finished runner-up to Scheffler at the Masters. “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.”

“Yeah, it feels inevitable at this point,” said Patrick Rodgers, who is 13-under, three shots back. “His ball-striking is incredible. It’s going to take — for me to have a chance tomorrow, I’m going to have to play 18 great holes, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

To beat Scheffler, someone must put together a round that looked a lot like his third round. Scheffler made eight birdies and zero bogeys in a round that featured a bit of everything. He holed long putts, like his 36-foot birdie on No. 9. He also converted on six birdies from inside 10 feet. He birdied all three par 5s and two par 3s (both of which were among the five hardest holes of the day). Scheffler led the field in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and Approach.

If Scheffler sounds unbeatable, it’s because he has been. Just one player has bested him since the beginning of March. He finished one stroke back of Stephan Jaeger at the Texas Children’s Houston Open, his lone defeat in this string of victories.

Nobody beat him through 54 holes in Hilton Head. Why will Sunday be any different?