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Golf pro Scheffler ends strong, three strokes behind U.S. Open leader.

Scottie Scheffler’s Putting Woes Turned Around with Timely Eagle

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – World number one Scottie Scheffler experienced some putting woes ahead of the U.S. Open but came up with a timely solution in the third round on Saturday, where he holed out for a late eagle that helped vault him into contention.

Scheffler eagled the penultimate hole at Los Angeles Country Club and then needed just one stroke with the short stick at the 18th, where he made birdie for a two-under-par 68 that left him at nine under on the week.

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“I was fighting all day today, trying to just get myself back in position, starting the day six or seven shots back or whatever it was. Just trying to make some birdies and avoid the bogeys,” said Scheffler.

“I didn’t do a great job of that for most of the day but I grinded it out pretty hard. … And yeah, just fortunate to see that shot go in on 17 and then a nice birdie on 18 to kind of get myself back into it.”

For his efforts, Scheffler is alone in fourth place, three shots back of co-leaders Rickie Fowler and Wyndham Clark, and will play the final round in a star-studded second-to-last pairing with world number three Rory McIlroy.

This will be just the third U.S. Open in the last 20 years in which two of the top three ranked players in the world will be in the top four entering the final round, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Scheffler started the day five shots back of halfway leader Fowler and fell out of the picture after navigating the first 16 holes in one over par.

But Scheffler saved his best for last as he holed out for eagle from 196 yards out at the par-four 17th, which is playing as the most difficult hole on the golf course this week, before a 22-foot birdie putt at the last.

“Could not see the ball go in, but there was a nice crowd there on the grandstand behind the green,” Scheffler said about his second shot at the 17th hole.

“I saw where it landed and I thought it would funnel out on to the green and I’d have a look for birdie and then you could see everybody as the noise started to kind of rise, got excited, and then they erupted, which is always nice when you’re standing back there in the fairway.”

Scheffler, who secured his lone major title at the 2022 Masters, where he took a three-shot lead into the final round, said he did not feel any different being the hunter or the hunted on the Sunday of a major.

“You’re nervous whether or not you’re leading or chasing. I want to win the golf tournament. It doesn’t matter what tournament it is. I’m showing up and I want to play good and I want to win,” said Scheffler.

“Going into tomorrow I’m going to be chasing, but it’s not going feel any different. … Got to go out there and execute and do the best I can.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by William Mallard)

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