Schauffele ties major record with 62 to lead PGA Championship

Ronan MacNamara

Xander Schauffele (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Xander Schauffele became the first player to shoot a 62 in the PGA Championship after he tied the lowest round in a major championship.

At the time of writing, Schauffele leads by three shots from Tony Finau on nine-under-par with Rory McIlroy and Robert MacIntyre a shot further back on five-under.

Starting on the back nine, Schauffele birdied 11 and 12 before three birdies in four holes before the turn saw him break free from the pack and hit the front.

Birdies on the 2nd, 4th and 5th followed before the American put himself on the brink of major championship history with a birdie on the par-5 7th meaning he needed to play his last two holes in one-under to card a historic 61.

Two pars followed but it was a stunning opening round at Valhalla Golf Club and he rightly feels like he is playing the golf of his career.

“I feel there’s spurts, moments in time where you feel like you can control the ball really well; you’re seeing the greens really well; you’re chipping really well. But over a prolonged period, it’s tough to upkeep high performance,” said Schauffele who lost out to Rory McIlroy in Quail Hollow last week.

Justin Thomas remarked how far Schauffele was driving the ball and his increased distance off the tee is paying dividends at this 7600 yard layout.

“I felt like out here, you’re just eyeing the fairway most times. It doesn’t really matter if you fly a ball 325 yards. If it’s in the rough, it doesn’t do you any good. You’d rather be 300 yards in the middle of the fairway.

“But I think overall, just knowing that I can kind of get the ball out there pretty far without having to go at it all the time is a pretty good feeling.”

The 30-year-old has top-20 finishes in his last eight major championship appearances but despite being the reigning Olympic champion he has not tasted PGA TOUR success in two years.

“I think not winning makes you want to win more, as weird as that is. For me, at least, I react to it, and I want it more and more and more, and it makes me want to work harder and harder and harder.

“The top feels far away, and I feel like I have a lot of work to do. But just slowly chipping away at it.”

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