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Scottie Scheffler has given himself the best possible opportunity to reclaim top spot in golf’s world rankings after a round of 65 on Saturday has left him two shots clear at the 2023 Players Championship. With just one round left to play at TPC Sawgrass, the 26-year-old will be confident that he can get the job done and win his second event of the year.
With Rory Mcilroy missing the cut and Jon Rahm being forced to withdraw from the event with illness, Scheffler only needs a top-five finish to become world number one again. He is currently five shots clear of a group of players tied for fourth meaning it would take something of a collapse on Sunday for Scheffler to drop out of the top five.
Going into round three, Scheffler was two shots behind halfway leader, Adam Svensson. The Canadian had a miserable day on Sunday, however, shooting 75 to leave himself eight shots behind Scheffler. With Svensson faltering, Scheffler spent much of the day battling with Min Woo Lee for top spot on the leaderboard.
The pair swapped positions on several occasions throughout round three before Scheffler pulled away down the stretch. His two-shot lead perhaps should be three with the current Masters champion missing a glorious birdie chance on the 17th.
Scheffler only interested in winning
With Scheffler only needing a top-five finish to secure his status as the world’s best golfer, there could be a temptation to play cautiously on Sunday. However, according to the man himself that is of no interest to him – he just wants to win the tournaments. Speaking to reporters after his third round, he said:
“I think the ranking is just an algorithm. For me, I would much rather win the tournament than get back to No.1 in the world. So that will be my focus going into tomorrow is just going out and having a solid round of golf, and the rankings will be the rankings.”
Leading by two and the last man on the range, Scottie Scheffler.pic.twitter.com/ZZsDubWRI5
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) March 12, 2023
If he is to lift the trophy on Sunday evening then he is going to have to shrug off Australian, Min Woo Lee who is unlikely to give up the fight easily. Speaking after his effort of 66 on Saturday, the 24-year-old said:
“Tomorrow could be the biggest day of my life, but I’m going to go out there and have fun again. It’s been the motto for the last three months. Not taking it too seriously. I like to have fun and interact with the fans when I can. I just crept into this tournament on rankings so I’m making the most of it and soaking it all in. Hopefully, I can him Scheffler down tomorrow but it will – it would – be a big effort.”
Fleetwood in contention
Englishman, Tommy Fleetwood, is just about in contention going into Sunday with a score of -9. Fleetwood has somehow never won a PGA Tour event despite being one of the most talented players around and a win at the Players Championship could be the springboard he needs for further success.
The 32-year-old matched Scheffler’s score of 65 on Saturday and believes he has a chance going into the final round. He said:
“Winning on the PGA Tour has been a goal, a dream, an incentive as long as I’ve been playing out here. I would have loved to have done it by now but I haven’t, so tomorrow’s another chance.”
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