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Scheffler overcomes arrest for 66 but Schauffele leads at PGA

Scottie Scheffler. Photo: Patrick Smith / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler shook off a morning arrest Friday to fire a five-under par 66 and keep himself in the hunt at the darkness-halted PGA Championship, trailing leader Xander Schauffele by three strokes.

Third-ranked Schauffele, seeking his first major title, matched the low round in major history with a 62 Thursday and shot 68 Friday to stand on 12-under 130 for 36 holes, clinging to a one-stroke edge over two-time major winner Collin Morikawa, who shot 65, with Sahith Theegala third on 132 after a 67.

“I played pretty well,” Schauffele said. “Happy with my position.”

Scheffler was in a fourth-place pack on 133 alongside fellow Americans Bryson DeChambeau, LIV Golf’s lowest player after a 65, and Mark Hubbard and Belgium’s Thomas Detry.

Scheffler overcame the shock and tension of being in jail two hours before his start to make six birdies against a lone bogey at Valhalla.

“I was pretty rattled,” Scheffler said. “I’ve kept myself in the tournament now with a pretty chaotic day. I’m going to focus on getting some rest and recovery and get ready for a grind the last two days.”

Police handcuffed Scheffler before arresting him on charges of assault of a police officer, criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from an officer directing traffic around an accident at the entrance to the course.

“I never intended to disregard any of the instructions,” Scheffler said in a statement.

Scheffler drove over a curb trying to get around the jam caused by the traffic accident, one that resulted in a death, and police say Scheffler’s car dragged a police officer so severely the man was hospitalized.

“I can’t comment on any specifics,” Scheffler said. “But my situation will be handled. It was just a big misunderstanding.”

The accident delayed the start by 80 minutes and so the final six groups must finish round two on Saturday.

Reigning Olympic champion Schauffele hopes to end a two-year win drought since his most recent PGA Tour victory at the 2022 Scottish Open, a run with 19 top-10 finishes but no triumph.

“When you haven’t won in a few years, you have to be pretty resilient,” he said. “I’m just patient and trying to play the best golf I can. I know I’m playing really good golf right now and all can I could do is focus on my process.”

Schauffele sank a 38-foot birdie putt at the par-3 third, began a run of three birdies in four holes at the par-5 seventh and made his lone bogey so far at 11.

“He made it look about as effortless as he could,” playing partner Justin Thomas said.

Morikawa, ranked 13th, made five consecutive birdies, a run from the fourth through eighth holes, before a closing bogey at nine left him on 65 to stand on 131 for 36 holes.

“Kept it front of me, minimized my mistakes and that’s what you have to do to win a major championship,” Morikawa said. “Never got ahead of myself. It’s about staying patient for the next 36.”

‘Extra loud for me’

Spectators cheered Scheffler on every hole, some while wearing T-shirts with his new mugshot image taken hours earlier.

“It was really nice. The fans were tremendous,” Scheffler said. “I felt like they were cheering extra loud for me today.”

Scheffler, a new father after the birth of his son last week, hit his opening tee shot into the right rough at the par-5 10th hole but made birdie.

After a bogey at 11, he sank his longest putt of the week, a 26-foot birdie, at 12 to reach 5-under.

Scheffler added birdies from six feet or less at the second and the par-5 18th and seventh holes.

Hubbard, in only his fourth major, fired a 68. His best PGA Tour finish in 214 career starts was a share of second at the 2019 Houston Open.

Detry shot 67, closing with an eagle.

Jordan Spieth, seeking a win to complete a career Grand Slam, shot 69 to stand eight off the lead.

Tiger Woods, a 15-time major winner, fired a 77 and will miss the cut.

“I need to play more,” Woods said. “Unfortunately, I just haven’t played a whole lot of tournaments.”

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