Scottie Scheffler getting closer to a first PGA Tour win: Can he claim it at the Texas Open?

The Dallas-based 24-year-old is currently riding a powerful wave that seems set to sweep him into the world’s elite and he’s excited about his chances at TPC San Antonio this week.

He may have been born in New Jersey, but there's not doubt that Scottie Scheffler is a Texas Lone Ranger.

His family moved to Dallas when he was six and 18 years later his precocious success hasn't persuaded him he needs to move any time soon.

Last week he made a bold debut in the WGC Dell Match Play, racing through his group and the brackets, only denied a first title at the top level by Billy Horschel in the final.

It was far from his first venture to Austin Country Club, however - he'd visited the tournament in the past alongside family and friends, joining the galleries to watch the world's best.

This time they had been there to watch him on the other side of the ropes and the situation will repeat itself on the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio as he continues his quest for that first PGA Tour win in the Texas Open.

Scheffler might not have gained quite the same publicity as Collin MorikawaMatthew Wolff and Viktor Hovland, three of his amateur peers, who turned professional in mid-2019 and wasted no time claiming victories and plaudits, but he has the game to compete with them right now and for the foreseeable future.

It's also worth highlighting that his rise is, by any normal standard, swift. It's only in contrast to those three exceptions that he looks like a slow burner.

He turned pro in late 2018 and earned a Korn Ferry Tour card at Q-School before proving himself with style on the second tier.

Two victories and two seconds helped him graduate as Rookie of the Year and ranked first after the Finals series.

He then opened the 2019/20 PGA Tour season with seven top 20s in eight starts, four of them top 10s, and by the end of the year he'd landed the Rookie of the Year double and finished fifth in the FedExCup rankings.

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It was clear that here was a golfer who quickly found himself comfortable at every new level he reached and so it proved, also, in both the WGC and the majors - he was fourth in last year's PGA Championship and landed a top 20 on debut at the Masters in November.

His WGC efforts have arguably been more startling: a top 30 on debut in Mexico last February, a top 20 at St Jude in July, a top five in Florida last month, runner-up last week in Austin.

Whichever way you look at it, Scheffler has the look of a man trending in the right direction.

He also has course form at TPC San Antonio, finishing T20th back in 2019, ranking third for Ball-Striking and 10th for Strokes Gained: Approach, both crucial factors in success on the Greg Norman design.

He's 14/1 with Paddy Power to claim the win this week and 28/1 to grab the first round lead, should he be flying really high after last week's excitement.

Here's what Scheffler had to say to the media ahead of Thursday's first round.

Scheffler at the WGC Dell Match Play.
Scheffler at the WGC Dell Match Play.

On last week's near-miss

"It was was a lot of fun. Obviously didn't finish how I wanted to, but definitely some confidence going into this week. I felt like my game trended in the right direction as the week went on and hopefully I will continue to improve on that this week."

On the TPC San Antonio test

"It's in great shape again this year. I feel this is a course that suits my game pretty well with it being challenging. You have to drive it really well off the tee here, which I think is one of my strengths, so I'm looking forward to getting out and competing tomorrow."

On local advantage this week

"I don't know if it necessarily gives us an advantage, but I love being able to play in my home state. I think it's great. I love being here in Texas. The food is great, people are great, crowds are wonderful. So for me, if there's an event in Texas, as long as it somewhat fits in my schedule, I'm going to work it in somehow, just for the excitement factor. I'm sure it's an advantage for us just getting amped up to play in the home state."

Ball-striking matters at TPC San Antonio.
Ball-striking matters at TPC San Antonio.

On playing the week before the Masters

"I would say it depends player to player whether guys prefer to play the week before. I'm definitely one of those guys that likes to play the week before, just because you don't really want to sit at home, think about (Augusta) and just kind of over-prepare.

"I've already noticed they don't have the rough as high as they usually do for this event, so that's a little bit Augusta-like. This place will kind of expose parts of your game that may not be as prepared as you'd like them to be for next week, so that's a good part about it."

On closing-in on his PGA Tour breakthrough

"I feel like I'm close to winning out here. If I just keep playing good golf and give myself a couple more chances, it will happen pretty soon.

"I feel more like I belong with those guys, I'm not really on the outside looking in. But there's a lot of guys out here that have won a lot of big tournaments and I'm still looking to do that as well, so in that sense I'm still on the outside looking in."

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