Cantlay and Schauffele dominate, missed song opportunity and season-saving week | Golf News and Tour Information

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There are no world ranking points up for grabs this week in the Zurich Classic, and the volatility of the non-stroke play format still leads to an eclectic ranking. Funny, then, that two of the best teams in the field sit at the top of the standings with 18 holes to play. Scottie Scheffler is the highest ranked player at TPC Louisiana – he’s the highest ranked player in virtually every golf tournament in the world these days – and Xander Schauffele (World No. 12) and Patrick Cantlay (No. 4) have a lower average ranking than that of Scheffler and his partner, Ryan Palmer. The same goes for Sam Burns (#11) and Billy Horschel (#13). If Scheffler couldn’t keep the heat going and the golden child duo of Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland couldn’t challenge, tournament organizers couldn’t ask for better than a Schauffele/Cantlay masterclass.

Cantlay and Schauffele led this unique event from the jump, shooting a best 59 on Thursday to set a tournament scoring record and following that up with an alternate shot 68 on Friday. They kept their nose to the front with a very impressive 12-under 60 best ball on Saturday despite increasingly windy conditions. The pair fired four under in front before catching absolute fire in the back, where each guy hit all nine greens. One of them managed to find the bottom on eight of those holes for an under-28 eight that put some distance between them and their opponents. They lead by five, set the tournament scoring record of 54 holes by six and have the largest 54-hole lead in tournament history. It was really the Schauffelay show.

It’s hard to choose against such a solid ball-striking duo with another alternate shooting day – known in some circles as “Sorry, Pards” – scheduled for the final round. But with high winds predicted and the potential for an alternate-fire disaster, Horschel and Burns have an outside shot despite their back six. Horschel called the tournament a “second home” for him earlier this week; it’s the site of his first PGA Tour event, back when it was an individual pursuit, and he also won it in 2018 with Scott Piercy. He is also a long-time ambassador of Zurich. A third win in the Big Easy and you must be thinking Horschel might be considering real estate in New Orleans. Jason Day and fellow Aussie Jason Scrivener are also returning five.

The closest pursuers, however, are the South African duo of Branden Grace and Garrick Higgo, who are arranging a solid audition for International Presidents Cup captain Trevor Immelman. Higgo and Grace enter Sunday four-under after a nine-under 63 that should have been better if Grace hadn’t missed a three-footer for a birdie at 18. Or if Grace’s bullet didn’t end up in a dead tree stump, but it’s quite another story.

So, would this count for Alex?

After he and Cantlay shot 59 on Thursday, Schauffele was asked if he was proud to have shot golf’s magic number, even though it helped.

“Yes, it matters to me. I’ve never done it before,” he said. “I don’t think Pat has either. I will count it in my book.

Can the same be said of a victory? It’s hard to believe given how often he puts himself in contention, but Schauffele hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since January 2019. It’s not talked about as much as other winless streaks because Schauffele won. a gold medal at the Olympics last year, but stats are stats, and Schauffele has been stuck on four PGA Tour wins for more than three years. So, while that’s probably not how he envisioned the end of the drought, he’d be happy to officially end one of the more curious barren stretches and restart his PGA Tour win tally.

All that crowdsourcing for… Sandstorm?

Morikawa and Hovland have disparate musical tastes. It’s another way of saying that Morikawa likes normal people’s music, while Hovland likes music… different? … heavy metal type stuff. This got them in trouble when it came to their backing music, so Morikawa took to the interwebs to seek suggestions. There were a lot of them, which sparked some interest in what the two 20-year-olds were up to. The background music, a nice little tradition this event has created, starts on the Saturday of every year, which means it would be our first listen to whatever they choose.

And they chose… Darude’s Sandstorm. It’s a proven arena banger, something you’ll hear banging in gyms across America. It’s a good choice. Safe. And yet, in all honesty, we were hoping for something a little more creative, especially with all the help they’ve received. Too bad.

It’s not a hit and laugh for everyone

The entire world of golf seems to be facing a return to the pure joy of the Masters and the anxious roller coaster of a Jordan Spieth victory. That, plus that weird format and the NBA playoffs in full swing, means this won’t be one of the most-watched golf tournaments of the season. And for the top players, it’s largely an opportunity to break the monotony of 72-hole stroke play events while racking up some cash, FedEx points, and maybe pleasing some sponsors.

This is not the case for all teams, however. As mentioned earlier, no World Ranking points are being handed out this week, but there is a full list of FedEx Cup points up for grabs. Good kind of. The winning team will split the points that usually go to first (500) and second (300), so it would be 400 points for each player. The same goes for the second place team – they would split the third and fourth place allocation in a normal event, and so on.

It’s a huge opportunity for a couple of struggling guys to get their seasons going again. Consider the team of Dylan Wu and Justin Lower, both touring rookies. Lower entered the week ranked 176th in the FedEx Cup standings while Wu was 180th. It’s a bit of a disaster, especially with the weaker field events of the fall season no longer an option. Wu and Lower shot nine-under 63 on Saturday to climb to tied sixth, and they’re both expected to move up about 30 spots in the FedEx Cup standings. David Lipsky entered the week in 119th, far too close to the top-125 cut line for comfort, but he and partner Aaron Rai will enter the top five on Sunday, and Lipsky could do a lot to make the playoffs. and lock up his full status card for the next year. A strong performance on Sunday for one of these guys could end up saving their seasons. There’s always a compelling PGA Tour story out there, as long as you know where to look.

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