At HSBC Champions, Xander Schauffele fights flu symptoms to contend

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At HSBC Champions, Xander Schauffele fights flu symptoms to contend

Golf

At HSBC Champions, Xander Schauffele fights flu symptoms to contend

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Not even the flu can keep Xander Schauffele down as he works to defend his title this week at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

Schauffele, who won this event last year when he defeated Tony Finau in a playoff, was still feeling the effects of the bug on Friday even as he posted a 3-under 69 at Sheshan International Golf Club that left him in a share of third.

As they say about the ailing golfer, beware. Schauffele will enter the weekend within two shots of leader Matthew Fitzpatrick.

Adam Scott (69) and Sungjae Im (69) join Schauffele at 9 under. Schauffele went bogey-birdie on Nos. 1-2 to open his day on Friday and bogeyed again at No. 5. His back-nine 32 included four birdies.

Even as illness derailed the first part of Schauffele’s week – and he was still hoarse after an opening 66 that included a three-putt bogey on his next-to-last hole – Schauffele has the benefit of having good memories at Sheshan International. He said he would “look back on the shots I hit last year, the putts we’ve made,” according to the Associated Press.

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Earlier this week, Schauffele discussed his history of claiming titles by way of a final-round charge. It often happens on big stages. The 26-year-old, who has four PGA Tour titles and is currently ranked No. 9 in the world, recognizes that he needs to work on putting himself in contention more often.

“My wins are more come from behind. That’s sort of where I’m comfortable,” he said. “In order for me to become more of an elite player and more of an established name, it would be important for me to sort of play to what I know I can do at certain times versus trying to be the come-from-behind kid.

“If I’m in a good mental spot and my game’s in a good spot, I should be able to go out and sort of showcase what I can do more often.”

Despite feeling less than 100 percent in Shanghai, he’s managing to keep himself in the conversation.

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