Scottie Scheffler played well enough to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team, although he has never won on the PGA Tour, but he’s close again.
The 25-year-old Scheffler posted a 1-under-par 69 in difficult, windy conditions during the third round of the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open to take a one-stroke lead over five players at Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston.
“I think I always prefer the harder courses because I feel like I can take it deep on them still and get myself back in the tournament, which I did this week,” said Scheffler, who has finished in the top 10 on 16 occasions in the last two-plus seasons on the PGA Tour after winning twice on the 2019 Korn Ferry Four.
“This golf course is pretty challenging, but it’s not a golf course where if you’re playing great golf, you can’t take advantage of it. There’s some scoring holes out there, and I’m just going to do my best tomorrow to put myself in position and hopefully make some birdies.”
“I’m just going to go out there tomorrow and try to get off to a good start, and hopefully put myself out in front early and stay there.”
Scheffler, who set a course record 62 in the second round of the 74th edition of the Houston Open, chipped from 55 feet for a birdie on the 15th hole and added 10-foot birdie putt on the next hole to take the lead while recording a 54-hole score of seven-under 203.
In the Ryder Cup, Scheffler had a 2-0-1 and beat top-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain in Sunday singles.
Jhonatthan Vegas of Venezuela sank a 14-foot birdie putt at No. 17 while shooting 68 and is tied for second with Matthew Wolff of Agoura Hills, who had three late birdies in a 69, Kramer Hickock (70), Kevin Tway (73) and 36-hole leader Martin Trainer of Palo Alto and USC (74).
“The wind was definitely swirling, at least I thought it was,” said Wolff, who claimed his only PGA Tour victory in the 2019 3M Open, but hit his second shot into the water at No. 17 to make a double-bogey 6.
“I was having a hard time figuring out the wind, and that definitely cost me a few shots on Nos. 17 and on So I think that was difficult, but I think it’s just firming up a little bit. I just misjudged the wind (on the 17th hole). To this moment, I really don’t know what happened on that hole. It might have just been not as good of a lie as I thought.”
Jason Kokrak collected four birdies on the back nine in a 66 and is two shots back in a tie for seventh with Russell Henley, who had two birdies on each nine in a 68, and Luke List, who made a four-foot birdie putt at No. 17 and finished at 69.
Mark Leishman of Australia, who shared the first-round lead at 65, made two birdies on the front nine and three bogeys on the back in a 71, and is one more down in a tie for 10th with Vincent Whaley, who birdied the last two holes for a 65 that was low score of the day, Adam Schenk, who wound up at 72, and Adam Long, who had only one birdie in a 73.
Cameron Smith of Australia, ranked 22nd in the world, made a late birdie in a 68 and is in a tie for 22nd that includes 18th-ranked Sam Burns, who birdied three of the last four holes for a 71, while 23rd-ranked Patrick Reed is tied for 34th after a 72, and 24th-ranked Sungjae Im of South Korea shot 73 and is tied for 40th.
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