Xander Schauffele achieves career-first; soars into Masters contention

Xander Schauffele scored his first career goal Saturday at Augusta National.

He didn’t record a single bogey, instead making two birdies on the third and 13th holes, finishing with a 2-under 70. It was the first bogey-free round of his Masters career.

“It was pretty special to go without a bogey today,” Schauffele said after the match.

“I think I was just going really slow. I didn’t leave it in the best spots at times, but it was still windy and the greens were firm, so even if I was chipping uphill to the hole, I didn’t feel like I was ‘okay.’ Even spots are still not that good. ”

Schauffele did indeed leave himself in a precarious position on the 18th hole, where he hit his tee shot wide right into the woods.

But he somehow found a gap between the Georgia pines and punched his second shot all the way up and onto the green.he advanced to parkept the bogey-free round intact.

“I said [my caddy] “Austin after that hit, that might have been the best shot I ever hit in my life,” Schauffele said of his second shot on the 18th.

“So I was really happy to make the par putt that rewarded that iron shot. I was trying to cut into the tree, but if I hit the tree, the tree would come straight back to me and I would be in the middle of the forest. I ended up going back inside. I spun to the right, pinching the pine needles, and landed on the green, going over the green, so I was really happy to get four on.”

The miraculous shot on No. 18 continues to vie with Schauffele. It also preserves his chances of winning a major. Schauffele has come close many times in the past, but he will need to drop back on Sunday if he is to have a shot at glory.

“I just want a chance from the back nine,” Schauffele added.

Xander Schauffele and caddy Austin Kaiser during the third round of the 2024 Masters.
Photo by Andrew Reddington/Getty Images

“Hopefully, I’ll have mine tomorrow. I’ll be ahead of the lead group, but I hope it’s not too far. Yes, this is all I can shoot.”

Still, strong winds made Augusta National a tough battle this week. This, combined with temperatures in the 80s, created stiff and fast conditions, making this one of his toughest Masters in years.

The weather is expected to be similar on Sunday, so birdies will definitely be a focus, but par will always feel good.

“We know how tough it is to play. If we start being aggressive on the field, we can get shots in the wrong direction,” Schauffele said.

“My goal was to get to 4 under.” [on Saturday]. I thought it was possible. Today was definitely enough to do that.I have to go out and photograph some stupid stuff. [on Sunday]”

Although he fell short of his goal, Schauffele certainly climbed the leaderboard on travel day. He’ll have a chance to make it to the final round, and that’s all you can hope for for someone playing at Augusta.

Jack Mirko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through.Be sure to check it out @_PlayingThrough Cover more golf. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko In the same way.