Scottie Scheffler downplays first-ever bogey-free round at a major

The No. 2-ranked player in the world knows he still has lots of golf left to play at the PGA Championship.

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Scottie Scheffler is the No. 2-ranked player in the world, and hasn’t finished worse than 12th in any of the 10 events that he’s played in this PGA Tour season. Despite all of his success, Scheffler did something for the first time ever on Thursday at the 2023 PGA Championship — he had a bogey-free round at a major.

The bogey-free first round helped Scheffler finish with a 67, tying him with a few other players for second place on the leaderboard (as of press time).

But despite the accomplishment, he was far from satisfied. Nor was he ready to celebrate the feat — despite Oak Hill playing extremely difficult, with many scores hovering at even par or higher.

When asked about his first-ever bogey-free round at a major, especially at such a difficult course, Scheffler kept things in perspective.

“This place is pretty tough. I came into today’s round just trying to play solid golf,” he said. “I kept the course in front of me, for the most part, and hit some really good tee shots on the important holes. Then I had some nice saves as well.”

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Scheffler then went on to explain just how difficult Oak Hill is — even for a player of his caliber.

“It’s just one of those places where, you hit one shot [maybe] barely offline, and, sometimes, you hit a good shot and end up in a place where it’s pretty penalizing. There’s lots of tough holes out there. I’m just going to go out there and keep trying to hit good shots.”

To some, Scheffler’s response may feel dry; and it kind of is.

But I liken it to the way Kobe Bryant once answered a question about being up 2-0 in an NBA Finals, with the late, great Lakers star replying with a “job’s not finished.”

Scheffler essentially said the same thing, knowing there’s still lots of golf to be played at this year’s PGA Championship, so going bogey-free at a major for the first time doesn’t mean anything unless he wins his second major title.

Despite the fantastic round, Scheffler believes he still could have played better. He’s hoping to carry some of the momentum he established on Thursday into Friday’s second round.

“I feel like I did a lot of things really well,” he said. “I think there were a few putts that could have gone in, and my score could have been even lower. I’m just happy to get through it no bogeys, and [have] good momentum going into tomorrow.”

When people wonder what separates good players from great ones, it’s things like this. Scheffler may appear unappreciative after going bogey-free, but he’s thinking big picture and has bigger goals in sight. We’ll have to see if he can keep the momentum going through the rest of the tournament.

Nick Dimengo Editor