Scottie Scheffler made his worst score of the year. Guess what happened next?

Scottie Scheffler at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

Scottie Scheffler at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

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For Scottie Scheffler, Friday kicked off a new beginning after the strangest week of his professional golf career.

What happened in the seven days prior? Chances are you know by now, or at least you have the gist. Last Friday Scheffler, the new father and World No. 1, unassuming by nature but playing historically dominant golf, was driving into Valhalla Golf Club when something happened driving by a police officer who then arrested Scheffler; he was brought to downtown Louisville and jailed, charged with several crimes and then released in time for his PGA Championship tee time; he then went out and shot 66. Scheffler ultimately finished T8 for the week, terrific given the circumstances but also his lowest finish in six starts. The case and investigation remain ongoing.

Enter this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge. It always amazes me that these guys — even the ones without newborns or miscellaneous legal battles — play tournaments the week after a major; shouldn’t there be some sort of giant emotional letdown? Nobody would have blamed Scheffler for skipping. But this event is at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Tex., a legendary PGA Tour stop and one not far from Scheffler’s Dallas home.

Thursday morning bookended Scheffler’s bizarre week. Before he teed off the Louisville mayor and police chief had held a joint press conference announcing the release of some video footage and confirming that, despite reports, the charges were not being dropped. The footage did Scheffler well in the court of public opinion; the internet seemed generally aligned that the video showcased a misunderstanding and an overzealous officer. But in the actual court? We’ll have to wait and see.

And shortly after that press conference wrapped up, Scheffler birdied the first hole. One under through 1.

When he birdied No. 4, the pre-tournament favorite appeared off to the races; sportsbooks deemed his chances to win the tournament to be approaching 50/50, an outrageous consideration in a 132-player field. But then something un-Scottie-like happened: He bogeyed No. 7. And he bogeyed No. 9. And then on the 157-yard par-3 13th he hit a squirrelly iron shot so short and right of the green it found the water, the furthest offline tee ball of anyone in the field. He dropped, found the bunker with his next and made triple bogey.

That in and of itself was noteworthy. Scheffler hadn’t made a triple since last August, when he did so in the first round of the Tour Championship. It also sent him to three over par for the round, territory he rarely explores these days. But it’s what happened next that reminded us who Scheffler really is.

First he steadied the ship on the way in, making four pars plus a birdie to come home in 2-over 72. It was just the second time he’s shot over par in a round this season — Saturday of last week’s PGA Championship, the day after the arrest, was the first — but kept him within shouting distance of contention.

Scheffler didn’t speak to the media after Thursday’s round but when he teed off on No. 10 Friday morning his clubs were ready to do the talking. He parred the first three holes before stepping up to No. 13, the hole he’d tripled the day before. This time he hit one to 15 feet and made the putt for a birdie 2. That must have felt a little better.

After his irons were his surprising enemy on Day 1, Scheffler reminded us why he’s an all-world sniper in the midst of round 2. At the par-4 18th he stuck his approach to two feet. Birdie. At the par-5 first he found the front fringe with his second shot and made an easy birdie. At the par-4 second he threw a wedge in to two feet again. Birdie. And at the par-4 third he hit one from the fairway bunker to three feet. Birdie.

The fourth in a row got him to three under par for the tournament, within a few shots of the lead and back to his perch as betting favorite. He made all pars the rest of the way home until No. 18, where a wayward drive and a mismanaged second left him long of the green chipping for par — but he made that, too, preserving a clean card and finishing off a Friday 65.

Scheffler didn’t speak to the media on Friday, either. I’m guessing he feels there’s been more than enough media involving his name, image and likeness this week. Maybe we’ll hear from him again on Sunday, when he’s holding his fifth trophy in seven starts.

On to the weekend.

Dylan Dethier

Dylan Dethier Editor

Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine/ The Williamstown, Mass. native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English, and he’s the author of 18 in America, which details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living from his car and playing a round of golf in every state.

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