Scottie Scheffler shows up big for Texas at NCAA Championship

Scottie Scheffler Texas Tracy Wilcox/Golfweek

Scottie Scheffler shows up big for Texas at NCAA Championship

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Scottie Scheffler shows up big for Texas at NCAA Championship

SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – Scottie Scheffler was a two-sport athlete at Highland Park High School in Dallas. He won three straight state individual titles as a member of the golf team, joining Jordan Spieth as the only Texans to accomplish the rare three-peat. He also played basketball for the Fighting Scots, though his highlights were much fewer and farther between.

“I came off the bench,” Scheffler said. “No game-winning shots. Carry the water. Warm the bench.”

It’s no wonder Scheffler chose golf. Now a junior at the University of Texas, Scheffler plays a major role for the Longhorns. And after a third straight 4-under 68 at Rich Harvest Farms on Sunday, he holds the individual lead at the NCAA Championship. (Texas is 5 under as a team and just four shots out of eighth place.)

Scheffler is 10 under with no bogeys in three trips around Rich Harvest Farms’ four par 5s. He’s made just two bogeys per round, a product of hard work with swing coach Randy Smith to eliminate the “big miss.”

Oh, and he’s playing with confidence, which is seemingly nothing new for Scheffler.

“He’s not overwhelmed by the magnitude of what this means,” Texas head coach John Fields said. “… He certainly has a belief in himself that he can compete at a really high level.”

Scheffler certainly always seems to show up in big events. He won the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur, captured the Big 12 title as a freshman, defeated Oregon’s Aaron Wise in the NCAA final a year ago to nearly lead Texas to its second NCAA title in four years, and qualified for last year’s U.S. Open at Oakmont and shot an opening 69, among a long list of other accomplishments.

As if he’s ever been scared of the moment, Scheffler shook his head.

“Being afraid? I don’t really think so,” Scheffler said. “There’s nothing really to be afraid of. I’m not really in control of what happens in the end. All I can do is control what I can control.”

What Scheffler couldn’t control was his body. When he was 13 years old, he was 5 feet, 2 inches, and weighed about 100 pounds. He grew nearly a foot in high school, and now less than a month from his 21st birthday, Scheffler is 6 feet, 3 inches, and nearly 210 pounds.

“It was very challenging,” Scheffler said. “Definitely my swing has changed a lot.”

The growth spurt also put a lot of stress on his body, particularly his lower back. It’s never been a serious issue, but Scheffler has had to manage it, making sure he’s properly stretching before rounds.

He’s also had to manage his time well. Scheffler isn’t big on social media; he just doesn’t have time. He’s in the McCombs School of Business, and this spring he became a member of the Texas Cowboys, a men’s service organization on campus.

“What people know us for is we’re the guys who shoot off the cannon at the football games,” Scheffler said.

So next fall, expect to see Scheffler all dressed up in cowboy gear on the sidelines at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, helping his fellow Cowboys fire Smokey the Cannon. If he keeps up his play Monday in Sugar Grove, expect to see the junior at midfield accepting his NCAA individual champion ring, as well.

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