Tampa Bay Times

Schauffele builds up his scar tissue

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AUGUSTA, Ga. — Xander Schauffele stepped up to the 16th tee Sunday with all the momentum. He had just ripped off four straight birdies. He had closed the gap on leader Hideki Matsuyama to two strokes.

Schauffele decided to hit one right at the flag.

“I was coming in hot. I was feeling good,” he said. “I was a little hyperaggre­ssive on 16.”

Schauffele wound up becoming the latest victim of the iconic par-3 hole known as Redbud and added another close call to a major-championsh­ip resume that he says is becoming “a big ball of scar tissue.”

His 8-iron skipped off the side of a bank and plopped into the water. Schauffele wound up with the first triple bogey he has had in a major — in 1,042 holes — and squandered any chance of catching Matsuyama.

Schauffele finished with 72 and tied for third with Jordan Spieth, three shots back of Matsuyama at 7-under 281.

This is starting to get real familiar for Schauffele, 27.

In 2019, he made five birdies in seven holes to briefly tie for the Sunday lead at the Masters before giving way to Tiger Woods. Schauffele finished one shot back in a tie for second.

He was in the hunt at the 2018 British Open until a bogey on the 71st hole ended his hopes. Again, he was the runnerup.

And there was his third-place showing at the 2019 U.S. Open, along with a top-10 finish at last year’s PGA Championsh­ip.

He’ll try to chalk up this year’s Masters as yet another learning experience. “I’ll be able to sleep tonight,” he said. “I may be tossing and turning, but I’ll be okay.”

 ?? CHARLIE RIEDEL | Associated Press ?? Xander Schauffele bites his club after his second tee shot on 16, the hole that killed his Masters hopes.
CHARLIE RIEDEL | Associated Press Xander Schauffele bites his club after his second tee shot on 16, the hole that killed his Masters hopes.

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