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Scheffler looks to the weekend after a long, strange day at the PGA Championship


LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The only quibble about Scottie Scheffler’s recent domination on the golf scene was that perhaps he was too normal and maybe not quite exciting enough to capture the attention of millions on a week-in, week-out basis.

For nine gripping hours on Day 2 of a PGA Championship that began with Scheffler in a jail cell and ended with his name near the top of the leaderboard, the world’s best player turned in a reality-TV performance more riveting than any Netflix miniseries or episode of “Law & Order.”

“I definitely never imagined ever going to jail,” Scheffler said after landing there when he disobeyed a police officer who was directing traffic after a fatal accident shut down traffic before dawn. “And I definitely never imagined going to jail the morning before one of my tee times for sure.”

Scheffler made it from the jail to the golf course in time, then shot 5-under-par 66 to finish the day in fourth place, only three shots behind leader Xander Schauffele.

“I feel like my head is still spinning,” he conceded after the round. “I can’t really explain what happened this morning.”

How the Masters champion bounces back from one of the most unexpected days of his life, to say nothing of one of the most bizarre days in this sport, will be the story to watch over the weekend.

Some other angles to look for at Valhalla over the next few days:

OUT FRONT

Schauffele has a chance to go wire-to-wire after posting a 3-under 68 to reach 12-under and take a one-shot lead over Collin Morikawa heading into the weekend. Schauffele, winless in two years, hardly appears phased by blowing a one-shot lead to Rory McIlroy at the Wells Fargo last week.

“You’re bummed out you didn’t win, or I was bummed out I didn’t win,” said Schauffele, who has a chance to become the first golfer to lead every round of the PGA from start to finish since Brooks Koepka in 2019. “But I knew I was playing really well.”

CAN COLLIN?

Schauffele might not have been bothered by finishing near the top of the leaderboard. The same can’t be said for Collin Morikawa, who faded late in the final round last month at Augusta National and settled for a tie for third behind Scheffler.

He reeled off five straight birdies on Friday to get to 11-under and put himself in position for a third major to go with his wins at the 2020 PGA and 2021 British Open.

“It sucked to finish like that (at the Masters) and it sucked to lose to Scottie, but at the end of the day, I knew I had three more majors coming up and to prep for that and get things as sharp as possible and just come out strong,” Morikawa said. “It’s obviously nice to get off to this start.”

SOFT AND DRY

Rain and cool temperatures turned Valhalla into a pushover for the first two days, and the scores showed it.

With a handful of players returning Saturday to finish the second round, the cut line was set to be either 1 or 2-under par. The only two major championships before this in which the cut line was under par were the 1990 and 2006 British Opens.

The temperatures are supposed to go up for the weekend. Will the scores go with them?

TOP ELEVEN LIST

Among those within four shots of the lead who are vying for their first major: Sahith Theegala, Thomas Detry, Mark Hubbard, Austin Eckroat, Victor Hovland and Tony Finau.

In a group one more shot back are Koepka, who overcame a double bogey on No. 10 to shoot 68 and Robery MacIntyre, who saved par on the par-5 seventh after hitting his third shot off the artificial turf in a hospitality tent near the green.

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AP National Writer Will Graves contributed.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf



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