LAS VEGAS – Xander Schauffele left the U.S. Open at Winged Foot fried and done with golf. Well not forever, just for a while.
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The four-time PGA TOUR winner finished fifth that week in New York but was 10 shots back of Bryson DeChambeau and just felt wiped out. He knew he needed to walk away.
The grueling stretch of championship golf that had consisted of two majors, a World Golf Championships and the FedExCup Playoffs inside seven weeks had finally taken a toll. The 25-year old was second in the FedExCup and hasn’t had a result worse than 25th since mid-June.
So he left his clubs tucked away for 10 days and figured he might have a little rust returning at THE CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEK. Not so much.
Five birdies in his opening seven holes catapulted him up the leaderboard and helped him on his way to a 6-under 66 that left him tied for second and just one shot off Tyrrell Hatton’s lead.
“I got home from the U.S. Open and for some odd reason I didn’t want to play golf. It was just one of those things,” Schauffele admitted. “It was probably one of the first U.S. Opens that really took a chunk out of me. Took about 10 days off… started practicing shortly after that. Didn’t feel too rusty. A few chips and a couple mental mistakes I did…, but definitely happy with the 6 under.”
Schauffele said the rest was exactly what he felt he needed – but was something just a few years ago he would never have even considered. And the Californian felt right at home despite not having any previous Shadow Creek experience.
“I used to be scared to take 10 days off and in the last two years I’ve kind of started to enjoy taking some time off so when I come back I’m kind of ready and fresh to push,” he said.
“The Grand Golf Club back at home (Del Mar), that’s my home course and it is a Fazio design, so I do see some design aspects that are similar. There is a level of comfort that I feel on certain tee shots and on the greens, too. They’re kind of trickier than people think. It took me a while to figure those out at home and hoping that that’ll help me here.”