Absent in 2020, Scheffler is Solid Through 36 Holes
June 18, 2021 - 8:23 PM
Texan Scottie Scheffler is more than making up for missing last year's U.S. Open due to COVID-19 this week at Torrey Pines. (Kohjiro Kinno/USGA)

Coming off a runner-up finish in the Tour Championship, Scottie Scheffler’s game seemed to be peaking at just the right time. It was September 2020 and his focus was squarely on another strong performance in the 120th U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

Then just four days before the championship began, Scheffler tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to withdraw. It was a devastating blow for a player picked by many to contend for the title.

“It definitely stunk sitting at home all week watching the U.S. Open, especially the way I was playing leading into it,” said Scheffler, 24, the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur champion. “I felt like I had a good chance of winning.”

Fast-forward nine months and Scheffler is healthy, reenergized and in position to make a weekend charge. A second-round 69 has him at 1 under for the championship.

He comes in hot, with a third-place finish in The Memorial Tournament and four consecutive top-20 finishes in majors. That includes a T-4 in last year’s PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park, which is especially notable because it came on Poa annua greens – the same putting surfaces featured at Torrey Pines.

Always known as a proficient putter, Scheffler’s flat stick has been sizzling this week. He has taken just 49 putts through 36 holes and leads the field in Strokes Gained Putting. Scheffler has also taken advantage of the par 5s at Torrey Pines, playing them at 5 under thus far.