Schauffele, Morikawa square off entering the final round at the PGA
19 May,2024 Credit : Getty Images

By Tim Liotta


Schauffele, Morikawa square off entering the final round at the PGA

Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa were tied atop a crowded leaderboard entering Sunday's final round of the 106th PGA Championship, where the field continued to pile up record low scores over the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, KY.

Both Schauffele and Morikawa birdied the 18th hole to finish 54 holes at 15-under-par, one shot better than Sahith Theegala, with 13 players within 5 shots of the lead, including Shane Lowry, who shot a third-round, 9-under-par 62 on Saturday. He missed a putt from 11 feet, 10 inches on the 18th hole for the first-ever 61 in a major championship. 

Of the eight players within three shots of the lead, Lowry was the only player to par the final hole, with six others carding a birdie and Bryson DeChambeau posting a chip-in eagle.

Lowry's 62 was the fifth in major championship history, and fourth in the last 11 months, and second in three days over the Valhalla track, equalling Xander Schauffele's first-round 62. 

Schauffele and Rickie Fowler each posted 8-under-par 62 in the opening round of the U.S. Open last June at the Los Angeles Country Club. Brandon Grace was the first player ever to card a 62 at the 2017 Open Championship. 

After Lowry's 62 on Saturday came Justin Rose at 64, with Viktor Hovland, Robert MacIntyre and Russell Henley posting 5-under-par 66s. Nine players carded 4-under-par 67s on Saturday as 63 of the 78 players played Valhalla in par or better.

The field combined to play Valhalla 113-under-par on Saturday. The field played the par-5 18th hole 52-under-par with three eagles, 48 birdies, 25 pars and only two bogeys. 

The 78 players under par after two rounds was a championship record, and a record-number 15 players were at 10-under-par or lower after 54 holes. The previous mark of 7 happened three times previously. 

Friday's cut at 1-under-par was the first time in PGA Championship history that the cut came below par. 

The three previous PGA Championships at Valhalla have seen Rory McIlroy (2014) win by a single shot, with Tiger Woods (2000) and Mark Brooks (1996) needing playoffs before being declared winners. 

Twelve of the last 13 winners of the PGA Championship have been within two shots of the lead after 54 holes. Justin Thomas came from seven shots back to win the 2022 PGA at Southern Hills.  

Perhaps the biggest surprise Saturday was Scotty Scheffler, whose 2-over-par 73 ended a streak of 42 consecutive sub-par rounds. The round included a double-bogey and five bogeys. 

In his previous six major-championship rounds - four at the Masters, and two at the PGA, Scheffler carded a total of nine bogeys and one double. 

On a day of record low scoring, Scheffler's round was better than only five other players, one of which was Brooks Koepka who carded a 3-over-par 74 on Saturday. 

It might be worth noting that Scheffler played Saturday without his regular cadddy, Ted Scott, who had arranged to return home on Saturday for his daughter's high school graduation. Or that the round came little more than 24 hours after Scheffler was arrested and brought to jail in handcuffs in connection with a traffic incident that injured a police officer. 

Scheffler mentioned he spoke with a lawyer Saturday morning prior to the third round. 

One note on the record scoring, the field has carded 208 birdies and 16 eagles on the par-5 18th hole over the first three rounds. Had PGA officials decided to play this hole as a par-4 moving course par to 70, we'd have had none of this record-scoring ballyhoo. The U.S. Open has done this at Pebble Beach, where par was lowered from 72 to 71 in 2010.