Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele pulled off a grandstand finish to breathe much-needed life into the Tour championship in Atlanta.
World number one Scottie Scheffler, who started the week as the player with the most FedEx Cup points at 10 under par before the season finale, was five shots ahead after the opening round in East Lake.
And although the Masters champ stayed ahead with a bogey-free 66 on Friday, he saw his lead cut to two shots when playing partner Schauffele finished with his 63 birdie, birdie, eagle.
“It’s only the second round of the tournament so I just tried to get out there and play some solid golf,” Scheffler told Sky Sports.
“If anything, I would have liked to see a few more putts go in, but having no bogeys and a clean map at the end of the day is pretty nice.”
With Scheffler covering the first three holes in two under par and Schauffele playing them in an over, the Ryder Cup teammates were a full eight shots apart.
But Schauffele followed up his third-place bogey with birdies in fourth and sixth, covering the back nine in just 29 shots to keep the pressure on.
“I saw that he was pretty far ahead, but I just peeked at the board and saw a bunch of guys getting some good scores,” said Schauffele.
“So I just knew if I could somehow hold on and control my golf ball a little bit better, we’re going to get a lot of looks.”
Former US Open champion Jon Rahm also shot 63, six strokes behind Scheffler, while defending FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay and Sungjae Im were one stroke behind.
“It’s going to be a really strong weekend for me and hopefully not a strong one for Scottie. We’re looking for something like that,” said Rahm.
“I think tomorrow could be a good day. If I can do another good lap tomorrow and he doesn’t shoot low then we’ll be in position.”
Rory McIlroy is nine shots off the lead after a second straight 67.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/golf/xander-schauffele-scottie-scheffler-patrick-cantlay-jon-rahm-pga-tour-b2153857.html Xander Schauffele pressures leader Scottie Scheffler at Tour Championship