IRVING – Average fans were unsure of his name, and his golf bag wasn’t embroidered with corporate sponsors. But while Scottie Scheffler might not have looked like he fit in at times at the Byron Nelson Championship, his poise and his score said otherwise.
Making his debut in the PGA Tour event, Scheffler finished at 4-under-par and tied for 22nd place at TPC Las Colinas, good enough to beat some tour mainstays and past champions. Perhaps more importantly, it was a chance for Scheffler to test himself against the best golfers in the world and see how he stacks up.
“I had a lot of fun this week. It was good,” Scheffler said after finishing the final round on Sunday. “It gives me a little bit of confidence and now I have some more stuff that I can work on going forward.”
That sounds more like a seasoned veteran of the professional ranks than a 17-year-old who will graduate from Highland Park High School on May 30.
His scorecard featured its share of ups and downs, but the biggest highlight was a hole-in-one on the second hole in the third round, using a 5-iron on the 221-yard hole – a club chosen by his sister, Callie, a Texas A&M standout who was his caddie for all four rounds. It was just the sixth ace on the tour this year, and just the fourth by an amateur since 1983.
“I was so surprised by it, I didn’t know what to do. I just kind of stuck my hands up and gave Callie a hug,” Scheffler said. “That’s the second one I’ve had with her on the bag.”
He had a shaky start in the first round, playing the first 10 holes in 4-over par, before three straight birdies down the stretch. Another memorable shot was a long putt for birdie on the 17th hole in the second round, ensuring he would make the cut. He had bogeyed four of the prior seven holes.
Overall, Scheffler finished with 17 birdies and 13 bogeys, along with an eagle and a double bogey.
Scheffler’s pairing was accompanied by a large gallery each day, from friends and family members to curious onlookers rooting for the hometown kid. Even for the soft-spoken Scheffler, it was a weekend filled with memories he’ll cherish forever.
“The hole-in-one, probably, and then coming up 17 and 18, there was a lot of people, and having all my friends come out to watch was really cool,” he said.
Scheffler, who won the U.S. Junior Amateur last summer and is the top-ranked amateur golfer in the country, won his third straight Class 4A state title for the Scots in April. He was invited to play the Nelson on a sponsor’s exemption, but didn’t win any prize money because of his amateur status. Scheffler plans to play at the University of Texas starting this fall.
Among those who finished below Scheffler at the tournament was Jordan Spieth, the former Jesuit standout who likewise made his PGA Tour debut at the Nelson as a teenager. Spieth, of course, won his first pro event last year and finished second at the Masters earlier this spring.
“Jordan told me I would be mad when I get down to Austin next year and I don’t have any money,” Scheffler joked. “I guess I’ll be mad then. I’m not too upset right now.”