He’s been challenged, threatened, and at one point tied down, but at the end of the third round of the Travelers Championship on Saturday, Xander Schauffele barely maintained his lead over the rest of the field. On Sunday, he will claim his first win in a singles event for the PGA Tour since January 2019.
To put that into perspective, the last time Shaveli won the PGA Tour, Colin Morikawa—who has now racked up six PGA Tour and DP World Tour wins—was in California and is still eight events away from turning professional.
Shovelli is one lead over Patrick Cantlay, with whom he teamed up on his last PGA Tour win – a team win at the Zurich Classic earlier this season. Cantlay launched Saturday’s round and turned his five-stroke deficit at the start of Round Three into teams with just one stroke at the end.
Here’s a look at how their third round is going and what to expect on Sunday.
1. Xander Shaveli (-17): Even late into the last hole on Saturday, it looked as if Chaveli might kick his lead too far. When he was training, he was five on Cantlay and four on two early chargers, and Shaveli started strong enough to maintain that lead. He stopped in the middle of his run, however, playing the first six holes in the second nine-on-one.
He bounced back with sparrows on number 16 and number 17 – the latter almost knocking the pin – as well as the clutch rod placed on the end to keep his fringe tight. Overall, it was a great day for Shaveli considering the number of hits he took from the other competitors. Whether he can do it for two consecutive days will determine the outcome of this tournament.
Consider this too: According to Data Golf, Schauffele has in the final round of the championship either entered or tied for the lead seven times since fall 2015. In those seven shows, he took hits against what was expected of him in only two of them and won two of the seven. . This is something to keep in mind while trying it out on a Sunday afternoon.
The other competitors
2 – Patrick Cantlay (-16)
3 – Sahih Thigala (-14)
4 – Kevin Kesner (-13)
T5. Martin Laird, KH Lee (-12)
Cantelay is clearly the bigger contender of this group, and his 63 on Saturday was as easy as 63 seconds. He was a zero bat (that is, he did not gain or lose hits on the field), and led the field in hits earned on approach, as well as from the tee to the green.
But Cantlay isn’t the best story from this group. This will be Thigala, who competed at the Phoenix Open earlier this year He cried after leaving the play-off Between, by chance, Cantlie and Scottie Scheffler, who went on to win. He’s been playing great golf most of the year without missing any cuts since The Players in March and the newest 10 players at Memorial. A win here for him would be a great hat-trick for a great rookie season (he will also become Only the second rookie to win this year’s Tour).
An amateur argues
Amateur Michael Thorbjornsen — a 20-year-old rookie at Stanford — shot 77-69 last week in Brooklyn to miss the cut in the US, but rebounded this week in a T7 after three rounds, and six from behind. Shaveli. He might not get the chance to run at the top of this board and become the first amateur in three decades to win a PGA Tour event, but the whole experience was fun for him and a joy to watch.
“I think one of the things that would help to win or come in second or third, I don’t get paid either way, so it’s just another championship for me,” Thorbjornsen said. “It’s just one more round of golf, just trying, again, to do the same thing I did today. Focus on my swing, just like making sure I hit certain spots and I think I have no regrets tomorrow.”
He was paired with Webb Simpson in the last round.
Cantlay and Shaveli are known for being fast friends and friends on vacation. I don’t know if it will help or hurt them on Sunday because it is about winning this golf tournament – they both think it helps – but it will definitely be a moot point throughout. If the momentum is going in the right direction, we hope to see more shots like we did at No. 17 on Saturday.
“It’s going to be fun,” Shaveli said. “I was looking forward to playing with Pat in the final round. We don’t get together a lot in the regular tournaments, just the team tournaments. So there is a certain level of comfort that we play with each other and hopefully that pays off and hopefully we can make a lot of sparrows.”
“I think maybe it will be useful to play with him, because I know his style quite well,” he added. “I can kind of play with him, if anything. It’s going to be very fun tomorrow. I was looking forward to working out the issue with Pat not on Tuesday.”
“It’s good to go out with Xander,” Cantlay said. “We actually haven’t played that much together in the tournament, maybe only three times in the last three or four years. So it would be nice to go out with him again. I hope they both play really good golf.”
Updated odds and options
Here’s a look at the updated odds with 18 holes to play, via Caesars Sportsbook.
- Xander Shaveli: +110
- Patrick Cantlay: +130
- True Thigala: 11-1
- Kevin Kesner: 20-1
- KH Lee: 30-1
- Scotty Scheffler: 50-1
- Webb Simpson: 50-1
- Martin Laird: 50-1
Give me a Schaeffler at 50-1 here. He’s in the back at seven but perfectly capable of shooting a 61 or 62 on this golf course, which would certainly be enough. I don’t like Schauffele at +110, and if I had to pick a player at the top, I’d go with Cantlay with a slightly longer number, although Schauffele is a bit underrated when playing from that position. I could also talk to Theegala, who is third in the field in strokes gaining the tee to the green (Scheffler is fourth).
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