PGA Championship: Schauffele sets pace with historic round

By Sports Desk May 16, 2024

Xander Schauffele cemented his name in the record books as he carded a historic 62 on the first day of the PGA Championship.

Schauffele sunk nine birdies in a bogey-free round to take the lead at Valhalla Golf Club.

It is just the fourth time a 62 has been carded at a major, with Schauffele matching the record both he and Rickie Fowler equalled in round one of the 2023 US Open.

Branden Grace had previously gone round in 62 at The Open in 2017, though those efforts all came on par-70 courses, whereas Valhalla is a par-71.

Schauffele also beat the course record of 63, set by Jose Maria Olazabal in 2000.

"It's a great start," said the world number three, who has not won a trophy since the 2022 Scottish Open.

"I think not winning makes you want to win more, as weird as that is.

"For me, at least, I react to it, and I want it more and more and more."

Rory McIlroy came in at five under, having carded a fine 66, while Tony Finau and Sahith Theegala went round in 65, while reigning champion Brooks Koepka managed an admirable four under.

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods went round in 72, at one over par.

Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler, the world number one, were among the later starters in Kentucky.

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    Teams will start arriving in Jamaica on July 1 with the competition set to take place from July 3-5 with the first tee time set at 7:00 AM local time.

    There will be eight competing countries and these include hosts Jamaica, defending champions Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

    Among these countries, there will be approximately 85 participants taking part in the championships split into the Boys and Girls 18 & Under, Boys & Girls 15 & Under and Boys & Girls 13 & Under categories.

    The official media launch for the junior golf showcase was held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Thursday.

    “The hosting of this prestigious event represents not only a celebration of golf, but it also fulfils our mandate by providing a platform for our junior golfers to hone their skills in addition to being a testament to the spirit of sportsmanship, camaraderie and youthful exuberance that thrives in our Caribbean region,” said President of the Jamaica Golf Association, Jodi Munn-Barrow, at Thursday’s launch.

    Lead sponsors of the July 3-5 championships are BCIC Insurance Company Limited and their CEO, Peter Levy, expressed happiness to be a part of this competition.

    “It’s an opportunity for us to reaffirm BCIC’s commitment to youth development through our title sponsorship of this prestigious event,” he said.

    “BCIC has always believed in the power of sport to shape our society and we see this partnership as an investment in the dreams and aspirations of young golfers across the Caribbean,” he added.

    Also on hand to give a glimpse of what to expect from the course itself was Caymanas Golf Club General Manager, Peter Lindo.

    “Our picturesque little course in St. Catherine eagerly awaits the talented young golfers who will be representing their countries. Our course superintendent, Mr. Jerry Hardy, and out groundskeepers have been working meticulously preparing the course taking every measure possible to present optimal playing conditions,” he said.

    “We’ve had some unusually hot dry weather up until last week and that little spell of rain has given us an even greener landscape. One of the challenges we’ve had over the years is the deterioration of our bunkers and Jamaica Aggregates Limited were very kind in donating sand which will go a very long way in the resuscitation of the bunkers,” he added.

    Other main sponsors for the championship include Sandals Foundation, R&A, Fleetwood, ORCA Golf, Caribbean Golf Association, CMK Bakery and Digicel Business.

     

  • Jodi Munn-Barrow to serve second term as Jamaica Golf Association president Jodi Munn-Barrow to serve second term as Jamaica Golf Association president

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  • Schauffele: McIlroy put under a microscope after losses Schauffele: McIlroy put under a microscope after losses

    Xander Schauffele believes Rory McIlroy is under tougher scrutiny when he loses and empathises with his need to take time off from the sport.

    McIlroy came within touching distance of winning the US Open on Sunday but disappointingly fell short as Bryson DeChambeau claimed the title by a single shot in North Carolina.

    The Northern Irishman bogeyed three of the last four holes in the last round at Pinehurst, including a woeful miss from a short putting distance on the 18th allowing DeChambeau to take the win.

    McIlroy, a four-time major winner, has not won one of golf's top events since 2014 at the PGA Championship and announced on Sunday in a post on social media that he would be taking a few weeks away from the game following the event.

    Schauffele, who was grouped with McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler for the US Open, understands why the 35-year-old has chosen to take a break.

    "As a competitor, all of us have had our highs and lows to a certain degree. It's a tough spot.

    "I'm sure him and his team are discussing what happened, and sometimes you just need to step away from it all and really try and be as objective as possible, because you're very much in the moment there and it obviously didn't go his way.

    "He needs some time away to figure out what's going on."

    The American won his first major in May, beating DeChambeau to the PGA Championship title at Valhalla, finally ending his reputation for struggling to close on final-round leads.

    "It's different for everyone. It's hard for me to compare my losses to his losses," Schauffele added. "I would say his, he's under a bit more of a microscope.

    "When things are going really well, people are all over him, and unfortunately, when things don't go your way, people are all over him.

    "So, there's a microscope on him on why he didn't win and things of that nature, and he's going to have to answer those questions at some point, and he will, because he always does.

    "I wear them pretty hard, but sometimes it's nice to just get back on the horse and compete."

    McIlroy will return in time for The Open Championship in July, where he will look to end his decade-long major drought.

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