Scheffler races into Tour Championship big lead after completing third round in style

By Sports Desk August 28, 2022

Scottie Scheffler delivered a storming finish to his third round at the Tour Championship to carry a six-shot lead into the final 18 holes at East Lake.

After nearby lightning strikes caused play to be suspended on Saturday, world number one Scheffler returned re-energised on Sunday morning to grasp control of the leaderboard.

Xander Schauffele had pulled to just one stroke behind Scheffler, but the leader made his big move with four birdies in his closing six holes when play resumed.

Scheffler had been level par for his third round through 12 holes, which is the point at which he had to leave the course the previous day, but Sunday's surge carried the 26-year-old to a 66 and 23 under par for the tournament.

Playing partner Schauffele could not muster a response to Scheffler, and he made bogey at the long par-four 14th to see the gap widen, having to settle for a level-par 70.

Rory McIlroy birdied 17 and 18 to complete a seven-under 63 and join Schauffele in a tie for second place through 54 holes, on 17 under par, with South Korea's Im Sung-jae and American Patrick Cantlay one shot further back.

The final event of the FedEx Cup sees the winner of the Tour Championship pocket staggering prize money of $18million, with the runner-up taking $6.5million.

Scheffler began the tournament on 10 under, under the unusual format that saw a staggered start based on performances in the previous FedEx Cup events.

He was the leader of the series standings so was duly rewarded, with second-placed Cantlay starting the week on eight under.

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  • European captain Luke Donald emotional after ‘stressful’ Ryder Cup win European captain Luke Donald emotional after ‘stressful’ Ryder Cup win

    Emotional European captain Luke Donald reflected on a “stressful” afternoon after his team got over the line to regain the Ryder Cup.

    Europe held off a spirited display from the United States in Sunday’s singles to clinch a memorable 16.5-11.5 triumph in Rome.

    Tommy Fleetwood’s 3&1 win over Rickie Fowler ultimately sealed victory, one which had looked likely since Europe’s 4-0 whitewash in the foursomes on Friday morning.

    Donald said: “Pretty emotional. It’s been a long process, it’s been an amazing journey and I enjoyed this one.

    “It was stressful. The US put up a fight today and hats off to them. Unbelievable, but I’m so proud of my 12 guys.

    “We formed a bond from day one and they gave me everything. They trusted me and they delivered for me.

    “It started off great, we got off to great start, we needed some blue on the board early and a few matches changed to red and you kept looking at the board and thinking ‘Where are we going to find 14.5 points?’ but we always had some guys at the back who looked good.”

    Asked where it ranked in his career, Donald said: “This is the best. This is why the Ryder Cup is so special to me and these guys because of these moments.

    “We play for each other, we get to share in that success together and we get to spend this week together and we will have those memories forever.

    “I gave them a good culture to succeed, hopefully I laid out a good plan in how I thought they were going to win and then it was staying out of the way. They had to play well and they did the job, I’m happy they trusted me.

    “In historic Rome we made history today.”

    Donald believes his team proved the doubters wrong following their 19-9 defeat in America two years ago, saying: “Not many people gave us a chance after Whistling Straits.

    “We were big underdogs, we started to show some form in the last six months and I couldn’t be happier with with the team I’ve got and I think these guys will be around for a long time.”

    Fleetwood added: “I (feel) relief, pride, joy. I’m proud of everyone who has been involved this week and am proud I am just one of the people who gets to play a role in what we came here to do.

    “Luke is amazing. We are all so proud of him. From when this whole process started he has been so good.

    “The way he has been this week has been phenomenal and we look at Luke on another level. I’m so pleased we could do it for him.”

    Robert MacIntyre closed out a 2&1 victory over Wyndham Clark while Shane Lowry lost the last hole to halve with Jordan Spieth.

    Lowry told Sky Sports: “It’s a dream come true for me, it’s something I’ve always wanted to achieve in this game.

    “We didn’t get much confidence from Whistling Straits so I’m so proud of my team.

    “It’s been the greatest week of my life. I’ve been so lucky to do what I have in the game but the last two hours have been the most stressful two hours of my life.

    “Thankfully Tommy did the business and the rest was just a celebration from there.”

    Beaten US captain Zach Johnson was in floods of tears after his side’s defeat.

    Struggling to get out his words, Johnson told NBC: “I think the Europeans played phenomenal golf. It really is that simple.

    “My guys showed true heart and grit, a lot of character. They played for each other and I love them, but hats off to Luke.

    “They played great and they were very impressive. I think we got outplayed.

    “I’m proud of my guys, they fought. It’s not them, it’s on me. Maybe it’s some poor decisions, something to reflect (on). I don’t know yet.

    “I don’t have the brainwaves to function right now. I’ll reflect on this and Team USA will be better off at some point. We will diagnose every little bit of it.

    “I’m not making excuses, Europe outplayed us and they earned it.”

  • Rory McIlroy says US antics put ‘fire in our bellies’ as Europe regain Ryder Cup Rory McIlroy says US antics put ‘fire in our bellies’ as Europe regain Ryder Cup

    Rory McIlroy fought back tears of joy instead of despair after contributing a career-best performance to help Europe regain the Ryder Cup in Rome.

    McIlroy’s singles victory over Sam Burns ensured he won four matches in the biennial contest for the first time as Luke Donald’s side inflicted a seventh straight away defeat on the United States.

    Donald, who played on four winning sides and was ranked world number one, hailed the win as the biggest achievement of his career.

    “This is the best. This is why the Ryder Cup is so special to me and these guys, because of these moments,” Donald said.

    Viktor Hovland had put the first point on the board with victory over Collin Morikawa before Jon Rahm birdied the 18th to snatch half a point from the opening contest with world number one Scottie Scheffler.

    Patrick Cantlay then held off a battling Justin Rose to narrow the gap, but McIlroy defeated World Match Play champion Sam Burns 3&1 and Tyrrell Hatton beat Open champion Brian Harman 3&2 to take Europe to within half a point of glory.

    They were made to wait as victories for Brooks Koepka, Max Homa and Xander Schauffele kept the contest alive, but when Tommy Fleetwood won the 16th to go two up with two to play against Rickie Fowler, he was guaranteed the half-point required and the celebrations could begin.

    Fleetwood duly completed the win and Robert MacIntyre also defeated US Open champion Wyndham Clark before Shane Lowry halved his match with Jordan Spieth to make the final score 16.5 to 11.5.

    “I really didn’t want it to come down to one of us at the back,” Fleetwood said. I’m quite relieved, I have to say.

    “I’m just so happy to play a part in it, although it was a bit bigger part than I thought it was when I saw the draw. The landscape has changed a bit for Team Europe but I couldn’t wish for a better bunch of people to do this with.

    “It’s been so amazing. We are just one gigantic family and the bonds you make last a lifetime.”

    McIlroy felt he had let his team-mates down at Whistling Straits after suffering three heavy defeats before beating Schauffele in the singles, after which he broke down in tears during a television interview and admitted he could not wait for a shot at redemption in Rome.

    McIlroy won his first three matches at Marco Simone but lost the final fourball on Saturday evening and was involved in an angry exchange with Cantlay’s caddie Joe LaCava over his celebrations on the 18th green which spilled over into the car park.

    “Walking off the 18th yesterday was probably the angriest I’ve ever been in my career,” McIlroy told BBC Radio 5 Live.

    “I said it to the US guys, I thought it was disgraceful what went on and I made that clear.

    “I needed that to fuel me today and not let it take away from what has been a great week. I felt like I used it to my advantage and came out with a different level of focus and determination and in a way it gave the whole team a bit of fire in our bellies.”

    McIlroy had to fight back tears before he added: “I just wanted to win another point for Europe. Ever since Whistling Straits I was so disappointed in my performance there, so to come here and get four points for the team means a lot to me.

    “It’s a great bounce-back after Whistling Straits. The team we have is incredible. It’s a young team that I think will be around for a long time.”

    Rahm admitted he was extremely aware of the significance of his match against Scheffler, who had suffered a 9&7 thrashing alongside Koepka in the Saturday foursomes.

    “I told myself I wasn’t going to look but it’s hard not to see the scoreboards,” said Rahm, who two-putted from 90 feet for birdie on the 18th after Scheffler hit a clumsy chip over the green.

    “I’m sitting looking at my putt (on 18) and the scoreboards are right in my way. So it’s hard not to catch yourself lingering.

    “But I think I did a really good job at the end. Seeing those scores, I refocused on the task at hand and played good at end. Too bad it wasn’t good enough to win but I’ll take a half.”

  • The final day in pictures as Europe win the Ryder Cup The final day in pictures as Europe win the Ryder Cup

    Europe regained the Ryder Cup on Sunday with a final score of 16.5-11.5 at Marco Simone.

    Here the PA news agency takes a look at some of the best images from the finale.

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