Scottie Scheffler reacts to ‘horrendous break’ on diabolical par-3

scottie scheffler pictured at the third round of the texas children's houston open

Scottie Scheffler fell down the Texas Children's Houston Open leaderboard on Saturday when what seemed like a great wedge found the water.

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Chad Ramey had just narrowly missed the water on the short par-3 15th during the third round of the Texas Children’s Houston Open on Saturday. At the 15th at Memorial Park Golf Course, misses short and left funnel down to the creek below. Ramey, luckily, was safe by less than a foot.

As for Scottie Scheffler — the No. 1 player in the world? He wasn’t so fortunate.

The man looking for his third straight win this week stepped up to the tee next, hit a wedge on the 121-yard par-3 a few feet below the hole and then watched it slowly spin back. And roll. And roll some more. It gained momentum and then — plunk. All the way down the hill and into the water.

Scheffler, back on the tee, was shocked. He smiled and shrugged. “What are ya gonna do?” he said, looking at caddie Ted Scott.

“It’s a horrendous break really,” said Scheffler, after he signed for his 66 to grab the 54-hole co-lead. “There’s really just nothing else. I hit a great shot and the ball goes in the water. It’s not great, but it happens, it’s part of the game.”

The par-3 15th has a scorecard yardage of 155 yards, but Saturday’s forward tees and a front pin baited the field. Despite its modest length, it played as the hardest hole on the course with a scoring average of .398 strokes over par. Only three birdies were made and eight players made double bogey.

“That pin is diabolical with this wind,” said Stephan Jaeger, who was also in Scheffler’s group on Saturday and is one of the co-leaders. “It’s one of those holes you want to just get through with par or bogey for where we hit it. I was excited to kind of make an eight-footer for par and get to the next hole.”

Analyst Brad Faxon noted that Scheffler needed his ball to carry about two or three more feet to stay up on top of the green, especially with the hole playing into the wind. Instead, Scheffler had to drop and chip on, and he missed his 13-footer for bogey.

“I think it’s a brilliant hole, by the way,” said analyst Brandel Chamblee. “It’s not meant to be a birdie hole today. You are meant to play it back … the hole location right up front teases these guys.”

Double bogeys happen in pro golf. But they don’t happen to Scheffer. At least not lately. He made a careless mistake on the par-4 18th on Friday when he three-putted from inside six feet. That was just his second double bogey of the year and first in 218 holes. Now, following his double on 15 on Saturday, he’d made two in 16 holes after playing the previous 217 holes without one.

In a way, Scheffler’s double on 15 was a reminder of just how impressive it was to go 218 holes without a double bogey. His wedge into the green looked great — “Yeah, this looks nice,” said on-course reporter Smylie Kaufman, when the ball reached it apex — and, as Faxon mentioned, it was just a couple of feet short of being perfect. Instead, it rolled all the way back and trickled into the water.

“I didn’t expect it to spin back off the green and I didn’t expect it to be in the water,” Scheffler said. “Especially the way the crowd was. They got really excited so I assume it got pretty close to the hole.”

Scheffler’s double dropped him to seven under and two shots off the lead, a lead he had previously shared up until he bogeyed the 13th.

A few minutes after Scheffler’s group finished the 15th hole, 36-hole leader Tony Finau came to the 15th tee. His next swing found the water as well.

“Fifteen is haunted today,” Dan Hicks said.

Scheffler’s double on 15 was his last blemish of the day, however. He went birdie-birdie on 16 and 17 to shoot a four-under 66 and grab a share of the lead heading into Sunday.

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