FedExCup Update: Scottie Scheffler trends back to top spot in Delaware

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WILMINGTON, Del. – For a while during this season the question was would Scottie Scheffler ever stop winning. Now he’s being asked when he will win again. Such is the world of golf where you can salute four times in a six-start stretch, including the Masters, but then find yourself trying not to be impatient after a ‘lean’ four months.

Scheffler hopes the winning answer will be this weekend after a 4-under 67 on Friday at the BMW Championship moved the World No.1 to 7-under 135 at the halfway stage at Wilmington Country Club. He sits just one shot behind leader Adam Scott but importantly now projects back to the top of the FedExCup standings.

Having taken the top spot after the second of his four wins in the hot streak earlier this year Scheffler had not only kept it but produced a sizable gap on most others. But with points quadrupled in the Playoffs his lead was swallowed up when he missed the cut at the FedEx St. Jude Championship last week and fellow Texas junior golfer Will Zalatoris won.

It left Scheffler 124.116 points behind Zalatoris in the standings as they chase top spot, and a 10-under starting position, at the season ending TOUR Championship where the winner collects the FedExCup and $18million.

Paired together over the opening two rounds Scheffler managed to put a four-shot gap on his junior buddy, a space big enough to see him projecting back on top. Both shared plenty of smiles Friday after they came to the tee dressed in near identical colors but the will to win remained the focus for both. The usual banter between the two gets saved for practice rounds.

“Fortunately, we were wearing different colored pants but there was definitely a few good jokes out there about the color schemes,” Scheffler smiled post round.

“It was definitely fun. Out here you’re really competing and you work really hard to get to a certain point, and where we’re at being No. 1 and 2 in the FedExCup, we’ve worked really hard for many years to get to this point so any sort of needling on the golf course I don’t think would be in the greatest of taste for both of us. I don’t want to hurt his feelings and he doesn’t want to hurt mine.”

Instead Scheffler was putting a hurt on his golf ball as he opened his round with three straight birdies to rocket into the mix. Now he can smell another win. Or two.

“I definitely want to win again for sure. I want to win every week I tee it up, so this week is definitely no different,” Scheffler said. “I’ve put myself in a decent position and I’ll definitely have a good chance going into the weekend.”

The ultimate goal is to win at East Lake and become just the sixth FedExCup winner to claim it all despite scoring zero points in the Playoffs opener.

Scheffler lost nearly five strokes on the greens a week ago but so far through two rounds in Wilmington he’s gaining over three shots in Strokes Gained: Putting and ranks fourth in the field.

“Thursday last week I just had an out-of-body experience. Other than that, I haven’t really played too many bad rounds of golf so far this year other than I think first round at the Scottish and first round in Memphis are really the two that stick out to me as just bad rounds. Outside of that I’ve been really patient and just played solid golf,” he said.


NOTES: 

Adam Scott was firing on all cylinders and reached double digits under par on his 12th hole on Friday before a late double bogey on the 17th cut his 36-hole lead to just one shot. He still projects from 45th in the FedExCup standings all the way up to third as he looks to burst the Playoffs bubble for the second week running. “Overall, I felt really in control today. When you’re playing that way, it always could be a couple better, and a poor shot on 17 was quite costly,” Scott said. “It’s a good reminder for the weekend that I’ve really got to keep it under control and don’t want to have too many get off the map and get out of position around here.

But I’m in great shape going into the weekend. I don’t even know when the last time I led a tournament was.” For the record the last 36-hole lead Scott held was a share during the 2019 Masters (T18). He led after 54-holes at the 2020 Genesis Invitational, the last of his 14 TOUR wins.

Jordan Spieth sparked the local crowds when he rolled in his fifth birdie of the day on the 17th hole to join the lead and they still provided a warm reception on 18 despite a closing bogey. Spieth, the 2015 FedExCup champion, now projects to 10th up from 17th.

Xander Schauffele was playing in the shadow of Zurich Classic of New Orleans winning partner Patrick Cantlay for most of Friday before a sensational hole out eagle from 75 yards on the 17th hole thrust him into a tie for sixth at 6-under. Cantlay went four under on his first eight holes Friday but was one over from that point on. The good friends now project to seventh and eighth in the Cup. Schauffele is a previous winner at East Lake while Cantlay is the FedExCup defending champion.

Cameron Young backed up his 68 with a 67 to sit just one back of the lead. He projects to fifth in the FedExCup despite failing to win this season. Young is the prime candidate for the Arnold Palmer Award as Rookie of the Year thanks to his five runner up and two third place finishes this season. But he’s far from content. “I have a list of goals. Probably eight or nine. I think I’ve checked off about one. Still got some work to do,” he said. One of them is make it to the TOUR Championship… if I keep playing the way I am, I’ll check off most of them.”

Cameron Davis of Australia has tried to keep pace with a childhood idol of his in Adam Scott with rounds of 69-67 pushing him to 6-under-136 and just two back in a tie for sixth. Starting 51st in the standings Davis wants to break through two barriers this week. Get to his first TOUR Championship after coming close (37th) last season and also find his way onto the International Presidents Cup team. At the end of play he projected to 32nd in the standings, within striking distance of East Lake’s top 30 mark. “That would be goal achieved for this year. Last year I got to BMW and didn’t quite get to East Lake. This year I wanted to make it one step further forward,” Davis said. “All I could do is get myself here and have a chance, and I guess I’ve still got a chance, so I’ve just got to keep playing well.”

Canadian Corey Conners came into this week under the pump in the 29th seed but currently projects to 18th after rounds of 68-67 put him just one shot off the lead. He’s looking to get to East Lake for the third time in five attempts.


TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP BUBBLE WATCH

Here are the players projected to move inside the top 30 of the FedExCup after the second round of the BMW Championship and advance to next week’s TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta:

PROJECTED IN

Adam Scott (No. 45, projected to 3): Rounds of 65-69 put Scott out in front on the leaderboard and in with a great chance to return to East Lake for the first time since 2019.

Aaron Wise (No. 31, projected to 27): Sits just three shots off the lead in a tie for 11th as he chases a return to East Lake for the first time since his maiden trip in 2018.

Shane Lowry (No. 37, projected to 28): The Irishman backed up his 5-under 66 with a battling 71 to drop from T3 to T11 but still projects inside the mark for East Lake with 36 holes to go.

Scott Stallings (No. 46, projected to 29): A four under front nine on Friday gave Stallings a taste of the lead before he stumbled to a one over back side. Still, at 6-under-136, he’s T6 on the week and is eyeing off his first trip to the TOUR Championship in his 12th Playoffs appearance.

K.H. Lee (No. 33, projected to 30): The two-time AT&T Byron Nelson winner is looking to make up for the heartache of being 31st in the standings a year ago. Rounds of 68-70 put the South Korean at T17 this week and right on the bubble for East Lake.

PROJECTED OUT

Sahith Theegala (No. 27, projected to 31): Theegala rebounded from a 72 on Thursday with a 68 but at 20under, T33, he is on the outside looking in with 36 to play.

Joohyung Kim (No. 25, projected to 33): “Tom” carded another 71 on Friday to sit even on the week and he is now staring at an end to his wonderful recent run unless he climbs the boards this weekend.

Davis Riley (No. 26, projected to 34): Rookie Riley began his clawing back efforts after an opening 6-over 77 with a 3-under 68. He will need to go low on the weekend to earn an East Lake berth.

Kevin Kisner (No. 28, projected to 39): A 75 to drop to T64 was certainly not what the doctor ordered.

J.J. Spaun (No. 30, projected to 41): After a late fightback on Thursday gave hope it was a day to forget for Spaun who shot 74. The 30th seed coming in now sits T48 on the week and will need a serious weekend charge to get back on track. 


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Ben Everill

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