May 22nd, 2024

Scheffler builds 5-shot lead at Hilton Head, but rain forces a Monday finish

By Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press on April 21, 2024.

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) – Turns out only the rain can stop Masters champion Scottie Scheffler.

Scheffler holed a difficult pitch for eagle on his second hole Sunday and turned the RBC Heritage into another rout. A storm system with heavy rain stopped play for 2 1/2 hours, forcing a Monday finish.

U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark made a furious charge early in the round at 8 under through 11 holes, only to lose ground with a double bogey in the trees. He posted a 6-under 65 and finished at 15-under 269.

Scheffler was 20 under and has three holes remaining when the final round resumes at 8 a.m. Monday. He was on the verge of winning for the fourth time in five tournaments, the exception a runner-up finish in the Houston Open.

He was trying to become the first player since Bernhard Langer in 1985 to win the week after slipping on the Masters green jacket.

The dominance looked about the same, minus the flat, tree-lined terrain of Harbour Town and the peaceful vibe on this idyllic island a week after a high-pressure major.

Patrick Cantlay was tied for second at 15 under when he hit is approach to the collar of the 18th green. He chose to mark his ball and return Monday to finish. J.T. Poston also was on the 18th hole and among the group at 15 under.

None had a chance of catching Scheffler unless the world’s No. 1 golfer made a series of blunders in the morning, and that looked improbable.

Mackenzie Hughes of Hamilton, Ont., finished tied for 39th at 6 under. Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., finished at 5 under and tied for 42nd. Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., and Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., both finished tied for 44th at 4 under. Nick Taylor of Abbotsford finished at 3 under and tied for 49th.

Scheffler has not made worse than par since a double bogey on the third hole Thursday. That was put to test on his final hole. He hit his second shot on the par-5 15th into the water, had to drop behind a row of trees and then hit his shot with enough spin on the rain-softened green to feed down the slope to 12 feet.

He holed the par putt, lightly pumping his fist, showing more emotion than when he made his eagle on No. 2 or the two birdies that followed.

Tom Hoge elected to finish his round when the horn sounded to stop play. His tee shot sailed out-of-bounds. His fourth shot went into the native area and Hoge chopped his way to a quintuple-bogey 9. That gave him a 74, dropping him from a tie for sixth to a tie for 18th.

AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

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