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Scottie Scheffler put Masters putting woes in rearview, one back at Oak Hill

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PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Scottie Scheffler has a well-earned reputation as one of the PGA Tour’s most even-keeled players, but it didn’t take a thorough examination to interpret his body language at last month’s Masters.

“He was pissy during the Masters and I don’t blame him one bit. He just does not appreciate that,” Scheffler’s swing coach Randy Smith said.

Full-field scores from the PGA Championship

For the week he was among the top ball-strikers at Augusta National, finishing first in greens in regulation, but ranked 53rd out of 53 players who made the cut in putting. Although the performance was surprising considering Scheffler’s status as one of the game’s top players around the greens, it didn’t lead to any wholesale changes or concern.

Smith explained that the only adjustment they made since Augusta National was to create more room between the golf ball and his body at address. “Sometimes it looks like he doesn’t have room for his arms to work,” Smith said. “It looks a lot better now through the shoulders through his neck and head.”

From those simple adjustments the world No. 2’s improved play on the greens can be easily quantified. The next week at the RBC Heritage he enjoyed a breakthrough on Day 2 when he picked up 3.32 shots on the field in strokes gained: putting on his way to a tie for 11th and last week he again added shots on the greens (.49 in strokes gained: putting) at the AT&T Byron Nelson, where he tied for fifth.

Thursday was more of the same at the PGA Championship, where he carded a bogey-free 67 and was one shot off the early lead at the frost-delayed event. He converted clutch putts from 7 feet at No. 2 and 4 feet at Nos. 4 and 6 for par and added a 15-footer at No. 5 for birdie to close out his round and keep pace with front-runner Bryson DeChambeau.

“The up-and-down on 2, that was probably a pretty important one. That was a really good putt,” Scheffler said. “I hit a lot of good putts today. I feel like I did a lot of things really well. I think there was a few putts that could have gone in, and my score could have been even lower. I'm just happy to get through it no bogeys and good momentum going into tomorrow.”

Scheffler said he hasn’t changed anything with his putting since Augusta National, either with his routine or mechanics, and he largely dismissed his performance at the Masters with a familiar cliché – it’s just golf.

“Golf is a hard game. You can't play perfect every week. The more free and loose I can play, especially on the greens, it's usually the better off I am,” he said.

It’s ironic that Scheffler’s turnaround on the greens started at Augusta National, Smith explained. “That 6-footer he made for par at the last, it gave him a top-10 [finish], you have that in the back of your head,” Smith said. “That made things feel better.”