Spain’s Carlota Ciganda wins individual title at Aramco Team Series in Florida

Spain’s Carlota Ciganda wins individual title at Aramco Team Series in Florida
Spain's Carlota Ciganda after her win in Florida. (Supplied)
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Updated 22 May 2023

Spain’s Carlota Ciganda wins individual title at Aramco Team Series in Florida

Spain’s Carlota Ciganda wins individual title at Aramco Team Series in Florida
  • 32-year-old shoots final round 73 to claim the title by 1 over Klara Davidson Spilkova
  • France’s Pauline Roussin captains her side to victory in team event

FLORIDA: Spain’s Carlota Ciganda held her nerve down the last hole to take the individual title by one shot at the Aramco Team Series presented by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in Florida, on the challenging Trump International West Palm Beach layout.

Ciganda, an Arizona State University alumnus, held off the Czech Republic’s Klara Davidson Spilkova to secure her first victory of the year and seventh Ladies European Tour win after a final round of 73. Scoring showed the challenge the Trump International course presented with two-under-par marking the winning score for the second of the five Aramco Team Series events.

“To win is always special. It’s not easy to win nowadays, there is a lot of good players and a lot of youngsters coming in very strong,” the champion said after celebrating with her fellow countrywoman on the 18th green. “So yeah to come here and win, I think it’s big also with the likes of Lexi, Lydia and Alison. It feels very special.”

The challenges of the par-72 layout were the talk of the weekend, with just two players finishing under par for the week. The Spaniard alluded to the winning formula. “Patience was the key for this week. I think it’s a very tricky golf course. Pretty much every hole has a creek or a lake or a hazard. It’s a great ball-striking course, you have to hit it to the right spot so I just wanted to be patient and try to give myself birdie chances.”

The win secures Ciganda vital “Race to Costa Del Sol” points during a Solheim Cup year, which is due to take place in her home country of Spain in September. The Spaniard has previously played a vital role in Team Europe’s 2013, 2019 and 2021 victories.

Spilkova came up just shy of securing her third LET victory with one of the best back nines of the day to put her in contention. Birdies on 13 and 15 lifted the Czech to second place but she could not find another on the tricky final hole to force a playoff. The 28-year-old said after the round: “It was difficult, mentally quite a difficult golf course. I think the first day was my best day, I was in a nice flow and hitting a lot of pars.

“The last two days was like a real rollercoaster but I fought back on the back nine today. It was good and I felt really good. After a tough first nine today, I was very proud of myself, that other one shot or two would have been nice but I’m happy.”

Olivia Cowan tied the low round of the day, a four-under-par 68, to climb 15 places and set the clubhouse lead at level par. Ending up two shots shy of the win, Cowan said after the round: “I managed to get a few birdies out there today, I don’t know what was going on. I guess we were getting the right lines today and hitting it quite close. I gave myself a lot of chances and rolled the putts nicely.

“We had a lot of fun this week and it was nice to have my friend on the bag to support me.”

Cowan finished in a tie for third place alongside world No. 3 Lydia Ko who could not get going shooting a one-over-par 73, matching her third-place finish in her first Aramco Team Series event in Singapore earlier this year. Home favorite and Florida native Lexi Thompson struggled on the final day, shooting 78 to fall into tie for 21st.

It was Ciganda’s compatriot Nuria Iturrioz who held a one-shot overnight lead going into the final day, but Trump International’s challenging water holes proved difficult for many and saw Iturrioz fall back into a tie for 28th individually, but her team had done enough in the first two rounds to secure the team championship.

Earlier in the day the team championship concluded with Team Roussin rising to the top to win by two, securing France’s Pauline Roussin’s back-to-back victories in the series after she won the individual title in Singapore earlier in the year. The French star captained her team of Iturrioz, Solheim Cup legend Trish Johnson and amateur Michael Bickford to victory this week with a score of 25-under-par.

On the win, Roussin said: “It was a lot of fun. We really got along, and we had fun out there, despite how much of a challenge the golf course is. And now here we are with the trophies. It’s pretty cool … I’m proud of this team, and I would not have wished to play it with any other people.”

The next stop for the Aramco Team Series is at Centurion Club from July 14 to 16 before events in Hong Kong and Riyadh to conclude the 2023 series.

Varner wins LIV Golf DC, Torque takes team title

Varner wins LIV Golf DC, Torque takes team title
Harold Varner III of RangeGoats GC wins his first LIV Golf individual title. (Chris Trotman/LIV Golf)
Updated 29 May 2023

Varner wins LIV Golf DC, Torque takes team title

Varner wins LIV Golf DC, Torque takes team title
  • The 32-year-old shot a final-round 4-under 68 for a one stroke victory over Branden Grace.

POTOMAC FALLS: In his 11-year professional career, Harold Varner III has won individual trophies in Australia and Saudi Arabia. With his RangeGoats GC, he celebrated a LIV Golf League team trophy earlier this year in Singapore.

But the 32-year-old resident of North Carolina had never won on American soil until Sunday, when he captured the LIV Golf DC trophy with a final-round 4-under 68 for a one stroke victory over hard-charging Branden Grace.

In winning on the outskirts of the nation’s capital on Memorial Day weekend in front of the largest crowd to attend a LIV Golf tournament in the US, Varner becomes the second different RangeGoats player to win this season, joining good friend Talor Gooch, who won back-to-back titles in Adelaide and Singapore.

“Very special,” Varner said. “I’ve never won in America. It’s my favorite country.”

Varner did not get to enjoy a champagne celebration with his team, though. The Spanish-speaking Torque GC won for the second time this season, shooting a final-round counting score of 9 under to finish at 27 under, beating the South African Stinger GC by three shots, with the RangeGoats taking third.

“It’s good, but at the end of the day, I really wanted to celebrate with the RangeGoats,” Varner said. “That’s my team.”

Varner produced several clutch moments Sunday at Trump National Washington D.C., none bigger than his hole-out from the bunker for birdie at the par-4 11th to take the lead. His tee shot at the par-3 15th set up another birdie to give him a two-stroke lead.

But Grace, who lost in a playoff to Dustin Johnson two weeks ago in Tulsa, birdied two of his last three holes, including his final hole, the par-4 second, to tie Varner at 11 under. “I played flawless all day,” said Grace after his bogey-free 6-under 66, the only bogey-free round in the field this week. “Nice to make a putt like that when it matters.”

At the time, Varner was about to play his second shot at the par-5 18th. His 6-iron from 197 yards landed on the front edge of the green and settled 40 feet from the pin, setting up his two-putt birdie for the win.

“I knew exactly what I had to do, when I had to do it, how I have to do it,” Varner said. “I love that. That’s why you play, that moment.”

Varner’s victory prevented Torque from sweeping both trophies. Torque’s Mito Pereira led Varner by one stroke to start the day but wasn’t as sharp as the previous rounds en route to shooting 71 to finish third.

Even so, his lengthy eagle putt on the par-5 13th was a key moment in Torque’s tight battle with Stinger GC, which was looking for its second consecutive team win after claiming the title in Tulsa.

“My irons weren’t very good today,” Pereira said. “Happy to finish third and obviously wanted to win. But we won as a team, so that’s pretty sick, too.”

David Puig, the 21-year-old from Spain and LIV Golf’s youngest player this season, provided Torque with its best counting score, a 6-under 66 that tied Grace for the low round of the day. Sebastián Muñoz added a 70 to tie for fourth on the individual leaderboard.

The win moves Torque to third in the season-long team standings behind last year’s champions, 4Aces GC, and Stinger GC. But Torque Captain Joaquin Niemann likes how his team is performing going into the second half of the 14-event season.

“We won already two times and obviously the more important win is the last one of the end of the year,” Niemann said, pointing to the Team Championship. “I think this is good to prove to all the other teams that we are the team to beat.”

As for Varner, his plans to celebrate his first win in the U.S. include a round of golf on the Monday holiday with his friends at a municipal course.

“I love playing golf,” he said. “That’s my favorite thing. I’m going to play tomorrow. It’s going to be awesome.”

Here are the standings and counting scores for Sunday’s final round of the team competition at LIV Golf DC. The three best scores from each team count in every round for their total team score. The team with the lowest cumulative score after three rounds wins the team title. 

1. TORQUE GC (-27): David Puig 66, Sebastián Muñoz 70, Mito Pereira 71 (Rd. 3 score: -9)

2. STINGER GC (-24): Branden Grace 66, Charl Schwartzel 70, Louis Oosthuizen 71 (Rd. 3 score: -9)

3. RANGEGOATS GC (-19): Harold Varner III 68, Talor Gooch 71, Wade Ormsby* 73 (Rd. 3 score: -4) *Reserve

4. CRUSHERS GC (-15): Bryson DeChambeau 70, Charles Howell III 70, Anirban Lahiri 71 (Rd. 3 score: -5)

5. MAJESTICKS GC (-14): Henrik Stenson 71, Laurie Canter 71, Lee Westwood 72 (Rd. 3 score: 27)

6. 4ACES GC (-14): Pat Perez 71, Peter Uihlein 71, Dustin Johnson 73 (Rd. 3 score: -1)

7. CLEEKS GC (-10): Graeme McDowell 71, Martin Kaymer 71, Bernd Wiesberger 71 (Rd. 3 score: -3)

8. IRON HEADS GC (-9): Scott Vincent 69, Danny Lee 72, Kevin Na 72 (Rd. 3 score: -3)

9. FIREBALLS GC (-8): Carlos Ortiz 70, Abraham Ancer 74, Sergio Garcia 74 (Rd. 3 score: +2)

10. HYFLYERS GC (-8): Cameron Tringale 70, Brendan Steele 71, Phil Mickelson 76 (Rd. 3 score: +1)

11. RIPPER GC (-7): Matt Jones 69, Marc Leishman 72 , Cameron Smith 72 (Rd. 3 score: -3)

12. SMASH GC (+2): Brooks Koepka 70, *Kieran Vincent 72, Chase Koepka 72 (Rd. 3 score: -2) *Reserve

Pereira leads Varner by 1, Torque head team competition at LIV Golf DC

Pereira leads Varner by 1, Torque head team competition at LIV Golf DC
Updated 28 May 2023

Pereira leads Varner by 1, Torque head team competition at LIV Golf DC

Pereira leads Varner by 1, Torque head team competition at LIV Golf DC
  • The Chilean golfer shot a 5-under 67 at Trump National course on Saturday

POTOMAC FALLS: In addition to battling a course that was reluctant to give up low scores Saturday at LIV Golf DC, Mito Pereira also had to battle allergy problems midway through his second round.

He overcame both issues — and now he’s 18 holes away from his first LIV Golf title.

The Torque GC member from Chile shot a 5-under 67 that included 10 birdies and five bogeys to take a one-stroke lead at 9 under going into Sunday’s final round at Trump National Golf Club, Washington, D.C.

His closest pursuer is first-round leader Harold Varner III, whose even-par 72 left him at 8 under. Henrik Stenson and Kevin Na are another shot back in a bunched leaderboard in which 20 pursuers are within six shots of Pereira’s lead.

Pereira hopes to become Torque’s first individual winner while his team seeks its second team title of the 2023 LIV Golf League season, having won the third event in Orlando. Torque leads the team leaderboard by three shots over Varner’s RangeGoats GC and Stinger GC, the winners two weeks ago in Tulsa.

Pereira said both the individual and team leaderboards will be top of mind on Sunday.

“The team aspect, it’s really cool to watch it out there,” Pereira said. “It’s nice to have that in the background and just hope we can take the win again.”

Pereira also hopes that his allergy problems will not impact his performance like they threatened to do Saturday.

“It was really, really bad. I just tried to keep myself together and tried to play good and just take the allergy how it is,” Pereira said.

Varner, who opened with an 8-under 64 on Friday, hopes to rebound from a second round that was not as productive as he had hoped but still leaves him in contention. He will need his putter to cooperate better, as he took 31 putts on Saturday, seven more than he needed in the first round.

“I played poorly, but it is what it is,” Varner said. “It’s golf. I just didn’t have it but after yesterday, I’m still in position. Just got to get back on the horse and have fun with it.”

Pereira and Varner will be in the final group on Sunday for the first time as LIV Golf members. Stenson returns to the lead group in the final round for the first time since winning last year at Bedminster.

“We’re at the races,” Stenson said, “and we’ll try and finish strong tomorrow.”

Here are the standings and counting scores for Saturday’s second round of the team competition at LIV Golf DC. The three best scores from each team count in every round for their total team score. The team with the lowest cumulative score after three rounds win the team title.

TORQUE GC (-18): Mito Pereira 67, Sebastián Muñoz 68, Joaquin Niemann 71 (Rd. 2 score: -10)

STINGER GC (-15): Louis Oosthuizen 67, Branden Grace 69, Dean Burmester 71 (Rd. 2 score: -9)

RANGEGOATS GC (-15): Bubba Watson 68, Talor Gooch 71, Harold Varner III 72 (Rd. 2 score: -5)

4ACES GC (-13): Patrick Reed 71, Peter Uihlein 71, Dustin Johnson 72 (Rd. 2 score: -5)

MAJESTICKS GC (-12): Henrik Stenson 67, Ian Poulter 69, Lee Westwood 73 (Rd. 2 score: -7)

FIREBALLS GC (-10): Carlos Ortiz 68, Eugenio Chacarra 69, Abraham Ancer 72 (Rd. 2 score: -7)

CRUSHERS GC (-10): Andy Ogletree 70, Bryson DeChambeau 70, Anirban Lahiri 71 (Rd. 2 score: -5)

HYFLYERS GC (-9): Brendan Steele 70, Cameron Tringale 71, James Piot 74 (Rd. 2 score: -1)

CLEEKS GC (-7): Richard Bland 70, Graeme McDowell 70, Martin Kaymer 74 (Rd. 2 score: -2)

IRON HEADS GC (-6): Kevin Na 69, Scott Vincent 75, Danny Lee 76 (Rd. 2 score: +4)

RIPPER GC (-4): Cameron Smith 70, Matt Jones 72, Marc Leishman 72 (Rd. 2 score: -2)

SMASH GC (+4): Brooks Koepka 69, *Kieran Vincent 74, Chase Koepka 75 (Rd. 2 score: +2) *Reserve

Harold Varner III leads after first round of LIV Golf DC

Harold Varner III leads after first round of LIV Golf DC
Updated 27 May 2023

Harold Varner III leads after first round of LIV Golf DC

Harold Varner III leads after first round of LIV Golf DC
  • Varner’s RangeGoats GC share the lead with Iron Heads GC at 10 under in the team competition

POTOMAC FALLS: Harold Varner III has made more eagles this LIV Golf League season than any other player, and thanks to his two on Friday at LIV Golf DC, he now leads for the first time since becoming a member.

Fueled by eagles at the par-4 ninth and par-5 13th, Varner shot an 8-under 64 at Trump National Washington, DC, to take a two-stroke advantage over James Piot, with Cameron Smith, Kevin Na, Mito Pereira and reserve Andy Ogletree tied for third at 4 under.

Brooks Koepka, who won the fifth major of his career at last week’s PGA Championship, shot an even-par 72 to provide his Smash GC team with its best counting score, despite having little prep work after arriving onsite Thursday afternoon and dealing with a cracked driver for more than half of Friday’s round.

“It felt good just to play golf again, kind of get it out of the way,” said Koepka after celebrating his fifth major win the past few days at home in South Florida. “Hopefully play a little better the next few days knowing the golf course a little bit more.”

On the team leaderboard, Varner’s RangeGoats GC share the lead with Iron Heads GC at 10 under, with Piot’s HyFlyers GC tied for third with Torque GC and 4Aces GC at 8 under.

Two weeks ago at LIV Golf’s previous event in Tulsa, Varner tied a League record low by shooting 61, a round that included two eagles. His two on Friday came in his first 10 holes, including his hole-out on the ninth hole. He now has 10 on the season.

“Holing out never gets old — and it makes it a lot easier,” said Varner. “… You just want to have eagle looks, honestly. If you do that — I got lucky. I made some long ones in Tulsa, chipped in, but that’s part of it. I feel like I’ve been working on it.”

Varner had a slow start to the 2023 LIV Golf season, finishing outside the points (top 24) in his first two starts. Since then, he’s made steady improvement with each appearance — 19th in Orlando, 17th in Adelaide, 9th in Singapore and 4th in Tulsa, and now the first-round lead in DC.

“The beginning of the year, I was kind of doing other stuff than playing golf,” he said. “If you just put your head down, I think good things happen. I want to play well. I don’t think I’m terrible at golf.”

The 24-year-old Piot has yet to record a points-producing top-24 finish this season. He entered this week 47th in the individual standings and knows the top 24 at the end of the regular season are guaranteed spots for next year, while the bottom four are subject to relegation.

“Yeah, it’s in the back of your head,” he said. “Obviously when it’s time to go, you’ve got to go. But at the same time for me, the goal is keep getting better, keep improving.

“Obviously I would love to play on the LIV tour as long as possible, but for me, as long as I keep improving, that’s really what I want to see right now. That’s my focus. Today was a good start, and hopefully we keep it going.”

Koepka takes PGA for fifth major title in landmark LIV win

Koepka takes PGA for fifth major title in landmark LIV win
Updated 22 May 2023

Koepka takes PGA for fifth major title in landmark LIV win

Koepka takes PGA for fifth major title in landmark LIV win
  • The 33-year-old American captured his third PGA Championship and became the first player to win a major since joining LIV
  • Norway’s 11th-ranked Hovland and American Scheffler, the new world number one, shared second on 273

ROCHESTER, New York: Brooks Koepka outdueled Viktor Hovland and Scottie Scheffler in a back-nine battle Sunday to win the PGA Championship for his fifth major title, giving Saudi-backed LIV Golf a milestone major triumph.

The 33-year-old American captured his third PGA Championship and became the first player to win a major since joining LIV, firing a three-under par 67 to finish 72 holes at Oak Hill on nine-under 271.
“It’s incredible,” said Koepka, only the 20th player to win five or more majors. “I’m not sure I even dreamed when I was a kid I would win this many.”
Norway’s 11th-ranked Hovland, chasing his first major title, and American Scheffler, last year’s Masters winner and the new world number one, shared second on 273.
“I put up a good fight. I played great today,” Scheffler said. “I gave the guys on top of the leaderboard something to think about and I made a little bit much a move.
“But Brooks just played some fantastic golf this week. He played too good this weekend for me to catch up to him.”


There were a smattering of boos for Koepka as he walked onto the 18th green to make the concluding putts for the title, a sign of the bitter acrimony that has engulfed golf since the launch of the LIV circuit last year.
But Koepka calmly finished off an impressive romp, his first major win since 2021 knee surgery sidelined him for most of the past two seasons.
“I look back at where we were two years ago,” Koepka said. “I’m so happy right now. I’m at a loss for words. But this is the coolest thing.”
Australia’s Cam Davis and American Kurt Kitayama shared fourth on 277 with another LIV player, American Bryson DeChambeau.
Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy shared seventh on 278 with Austrian Sepp Straka.
Koepka was among the stars who jumped from the PGA Tour to breakaway LIV Golf, which offered record $25 million purses for 54-hole events, despite concern over Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
The PGA banned LIV talent from its events, with a legal fight between them due in court next May. In the meantime, the majors have provided the only outlet for competition between players from the rival tours.
In all, there were six major winners from LIV in the field of 156 with a combined 15 major crowns, none of them won since joining the upstart circuit, including Australian Cam Smith’s British Open title last July.

Brooks Koepka and his trophy. (Twitter: @BKoepka)

Koepka led entering the final round at last month’s Masters but, in his words, “choked” away the green jacket to Spain’s Jon Rahm.
After sharing second at Augusta National with LIV’s Phil Mickelson, Koepka’s three PGA wins puts him behind only Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Walter Hagen.
In the closing drama, Hovland sank a birdie putt from just inside eight feet at 14 but Koepka matched him from just inside four feet to reach nine-under and stay one ahead of the 11th-ranked Norwegian with Scheffler three back.
Hovland was undone by a 9-iron shot from a fairway bunker at 16, where he embedded his ball into the bunker wall and went on to make double bogey.
Koepka sank a birdie putt at 16 from just inside five feet to reach 10-under and lead by four.
“I thought I handled myself pretty well,” Hovland said. “Pretty unfortunate on 16 but I don’t feel like I gave it away.
“Brooks deserved to win. He hit a lot of great putts and a lot of great shots.”
Scheffler birdied 18 from just inside 16 feet and Koepka took bogey at 17 after finding the right rough off the tee, sending Koepka to the final hole two up on the American.
Koepka dropped his approach inside 10 feet and two-putted for victory.

World number three McIlroy from Northern Ireland was trying to win his first major title since 2014.
McIlroy’s playing partner, US club professional Michael Block, aced the 151-yard par-3 15th on the fly with a 7-iron and was cheered all the way along his walk to the hole. It was the first hole-in-one by a club pro in the PGA since 1999.
Block shot 71 to share 15th on 281, earning a spot in next year’s PGA field.


LIV Golf’s Koepka a tough customer on a tough day to lead PGA Championship

LIV Golf’s Koepka a tough customer on a tough day to lead PGA Championship
Updated 21 May 2023

LIV Golf’s Koepka a tough customer on a tough day to lead PGA Championship

LIV Golf’s Koepka a tough customer on a tough day to lead PGA Championship
  • Koepka was at his best even during occasional downpours
  • He had a 4-under 66 — the low round at Oak Hill for the second straight day

PITTSFORD, New York: Brooks Koepka says he thrives in majors because they’re the toughest tests. The PGA Championship was every bit of that on a rainy Saturday at Oak Hill, and so was Koepka.

Koepka was at his best even during occasional downpours, and he surged into the 54-hole lead for the second straight major. He had a 4-under 66 — the low round at Oak Hill for the second straight day — and led by one shot over Viktor Hovland and Corey Conners.

Now he has to finish it off. Koepka failed to do that last month at the Masters when he had a two-shot lead, played it safe and shot 75 and Jon Rahm tracked him down to win by four.

“I know what I did,” Koepka said. “I promise I won’t show up like that tomorrow.”

The last player to have the low score in the second and third rounds of a major championship was Tiger Woods in the 1997 Masters, which he won by a record 12 shots.

Koepka, who was at 6-under 204, won’t have it that easy.

Conners played Oak Hill like a US Open — that’s what this PGA Championship feels like — by opening with two birdies and 13 pars that kept him in front for so much of the wet, grueling day. And then one swing changed everything.

He was in a bunker right of the 16th fairway when he hit the ball so thin that it disappeared into the lip of the soggy turf. It was plugged deep in the sod, and Conners had to drop it in gnarly rough on top of a mound framing the bunker. He did well to advance that toward the green into more thick grass and took double bogey.

Conners, in control for so long, had to settle for a 70.

Hovland overcame mistakes early with three birdies in a five-hole stretch around the turn. But then the Norwegian failed to take advantage of the scoring stretch — Nos. 13, 14 and 15 — and took bogey from the bunker on the 18th hole for a 70.

He will be in the final group of a major for the second time. Hovland was tied with Rory McIlroy at St. Andrews last summer and closed with a 74.

Missing from all this activity was Scottie Scheffler, the No. 2 player in the world, who started with two straight bogeys and didn’t make a birdie — his only one of the round — until the 14th hole. He shot a 73, but is still very much in the mix.

So is Bryson DeChambeau, who played with Koepka and took double bogey on the sixth hole for the second straight day. He ground out a 70 and was three shots behind.

McIlroy was about like the weather — promising and then bleak — during a wild round that ended with a par save for a 69. He was among only seven players under still under par, but still five shots behind the four-time major champion Koepka.

Asked if there was a 65 at Oak Hill, McIlroy said he would have to keep mistakes off his card.

“I have to believe that there is a score like that out there because ... I’m going to have to shoot something like that to have a chance to win,” he said.

And he will need some help from Koepka, who has a 54-hole lead in his second straight major.

Oak Hill in pleasant weather has been a brute. Rain came down at the start of play and never really let up except for a brief burst of sunshine and shadows, and then the showers returned. Fairways were framed by umbrellas. The rough was thick and wet. McIlroy was among players who wore their caps backward to keep rain from dripping off the bill.

Koepka motored along, and he was particularly sharp with the putter on the back nine. He holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 12th and made one from 18 feet on the par-5 13th. The real boost came on the 17th, when he rolled one in from just outside 45 feet.

“Felt like it was a bit more aggressive today,” Koepka said of his putting. “Especially on the back nine, and putts started banging in the back of the hole.”

And then came Conners’ blunder on the 16th, Hovland’s bogey on the 18th, and Koepka was all by himself atop the leaderboard as he chases a fifth major, and a third PGA Championship. Also at stake: A victory moves him to No. 2 in the Ryder Cup standings. Because Koepka plays for LIV Golf, he can only earn Ryder Cup points in the majors.

Justin Rose joined Scheffler at 2-under 208, still very much in range. And no one appears to be having more fun than California club pro Michael Block. He had another round of 70 and tied for eighth, the first club pro to be in the top 10 after 54 holes since 1990 at Shoal Creek.

Even Koepka’s great run along the back nine didn’t look like it would be enough to catch Conners, and then that changed on the 16th hole. Conners swung and then tried to figure out where it went, looking up in the air, until realizing it shot right into the lip.

“Wish I could have that one back,” he said.

Scheffler would like to have back his opening seven holes — four bogeys, and it could have been worse. Is shot out of wet rough on the seventh landed in Allen’s Creek and hopped out to the other side. He was bogey-free over the final 11 holes.

“I didn’t shoot myself out of it on a day where the conditions were tough and I didn’t have my best stuff,” Scheffler said. “I hung in there pretty good and didn’t post the number I wanted to, but I’m still only four back going into tomorrow. And if I go out and have a great round, I think I’ll have a decent chance.”