Late birdie lifts Scheffler to PGA Tour lead at Kapalua

LOS ANGELES: World number one Scottie Scheffler capped a nine-under par 64 with a birdie at 18 that lifted him to a one-shot lead yesterday midway through the US PGA Tour Sentry tournament at Kapalua in Hawaii.

Scheffler shook off an early bogey with an eagle and eight birdies on the par-73 Plantation course, where his 16-under par total of 130 put him one in front of England's Tyrrell Hatton, South Korean Im Sung-jae and fellow American Brendon Todd.

"I played really solid," said Scheffler, the 2022 Masters champion.

"The few times I got into trouble I got out pretty quick and hit some nice pitches and a couple nice putts as well."

He putted from off the green at the 18th, where the 80-footer settled inches from the hole.

"I thought it was going in," Scheffler said, but added "I was glad to tap it in."

After a bogey at the second hole, Scheffler got on track with a birdie at the third before rolling in a 24-foot eagle putt at the par-five fifth.

He added birdies at the sixth and ninth, then launched a run of four straight birdies with a 14-footer at the 12th. At 13 he drained a seven-footer, at 14 he got up and down for birdie from a greenside bunker and at 15 he holed a six-footer.

Scheffler said he'd need more of the same to stay in front over the final two rounds of the elite season-opening event, which features winners from 2022 as well as the top 50 from last season's FedEx Cup championship.

"Scores around this place are pretty low, but it's one of those places if you go out there and play well you're going to get rewarded," he said. "If you start not hitting it in the right spots, you can get in trouble. Just got to keep the pedal down out here."

Hatton played the last four holes in five-under -- with birdies at 15, 16 and 17 before and eagle at 18 -- on the way to a blistering 11-under par 62.

In all he notched 10 birdies with one bogey, not what he was expecting as he continued to feel the physical effects of the long trip from England.

"If I'm being honest, body didn't feel great, and tee to green didn't feel amazing," said Hatton, who posted his lowest round in relation to par on the PGA Tour.

"I had a mad day on the greens. Every putt I seemed to look at went in."

His blazing finish was a "nice way to bounce back" from his bogey at 14. The final flourish was a 98-foot putt from off the green at 18.

"That's just a bonus," Hatton said. "Just hoping to roll it up somewhere close and, yeah, thankfully, the flag got in the way and the ball fell in the hole."

Todd joined Hatton on 131 with a nine-under 64 that featured and eagle, eight birdies and one bogey, while Im's seven-under 66 included eight birdies and a bogey. --AFP

Most Popular
Related Article
Says Stories