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HomeFEATURED WEBSITEEarly riser: Scottie Scheffler climbs morning leaderboard as 2023 Players Championship resumes

Early riser: Scottie Scheffler climbs morning leaderboard as 2023 Players Championship resumes

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Waking up for a tournament round at 4 a.m. is tough for the average golfer.

Doing it without coffee? For many, flat-out unthinkable.

That didn’t stop Scottie Scheffler, who burned the early-morning oil and rocketed up the leaderboard against a field that’s traditionally the strongest in all of golf.

Moving day began bright and early for Scheffler, who resumed his suspended second round at the crack of dawn and made the most of his tee time with a jump at the Players Championship. Ranked second in the world, Scheffler closed his round with a 7-under 137, entering the clubhouse two strokes behind Adam Svensson of Canada.

The secret to success for a golfer aiming at No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking? Flexibility.

“Just adjusting to the conditions. It was quite soft and it was actually a bit cooler,” he said.

The quest to climb the board started early. Really early.

Scheffler said that he woke up at 4 a.m. and arrived at the Players Stadium Course around 4:45. And while he said he has become a coffee connoisseur of late, even ordering an espresso machine during the Open Championship at St. Andrews, he said he puts his coffee routine on hold during tournaments. No matter the wake-up time.

Coffee or no coffee, Scheffler didn’t show signs of an empty fuel tank. Paired with Rory McIlroy in a two-man group after top-ranked Jon Rahm withdrew Friday due to illness, Scheffler found part of the challenge was to keep moving.

“I was walking as slow as possible, which still wasn’t even close to being slow enough,” he said.

He began Saturday midway through the par-5 11th, making birdie at 11 and 16 while staying out of trouble throughout the resumed round to wrap up a 69.

Saturday morning’s round was the latest winning sign for Scheffler, who owns five PGA Tour victories within just over a year going back to the 2022 Phoenix Open. If he seals his sixth on Sunday at the Players, he’ll bring home a $4.5 million check for the winner. That’ll buy a whole lot of coffee.

At the Stadium Course, he knows he can’t take anything for granted.

“What makes me a little nervous is the stuff kind of around,” he said. “You don’t really know if you’re going to get a good or bad break.”

2023 Players Championship: Here are the notables, including Rory McIlroy, who missed the cut

Photos: 2023 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass

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