Xander Schauffele hits the front at Scottish Open

Xander Schauffele Scottish Open

LEADERBOARD –7 Schauffele; -5 Cabrera-Bello; -4 Spieth, J. Smith, Palmer; -3 Smalley, Tringale, Fitzpatrick SELECTED OTHERS –1 Fowler, Fleetwood; E Hatton; +4 Rahm.

It was all change on Saturday at the Genesis Scottish Open as Xander Schauffele took the tournament by the scruff of the neck.

Schauffele picked up where he left off on Friday, when his five-under round of the day put him in the mix. Here he went four-under, although two bogeys to finish took some of the gloss off.

That aside, this was an exquisite display by the American. In the same strong winds seen all week at the Renaissance Club, he handled almost everything thrown at him beautifully as others fell away.

“I had pretty much everything going, I was judging the bounces well, I was making the putts I needed to, getting up and down when I was missing the greens,” Schauffele said.

“I had six birdies through 16 holes and no complaints. It was a tough finish, I’ll go to the range and get some better feels for tomorrow but those are hard finishing holes.

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“But I’m pretty ok with the day.

“It would be very nice to win here, very special, but I don’t want to think too far ahead.

“It’s just proof my game can travel, I’m competing against an incredible field, one of the best of the year.

“So I am just going to focus on what I can do now.

“I’m getting more comfortable leading from the front, I haven’t done it too often!

“3pm tee-times are a bit of a stretch for me, it would be nicer if it was before noon just to get out there and going. But I’ll figure it out.”

Cameron Tringale, the 36-hole leader, endured a second tough day in a row as he relinquished top spot for the first time since the tournament began.

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Others, however, put themselves firmly in the mix. Former winner Rafa Cabrera-Bello sneaked up under the radar, moving into second.

Jordan Spieth’s two eagles put him one further back alongside Ryan Palmer and Jordan Smith, while tour rookie Alex Smalley is also in the mix on three-under alongside Tringale and US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick.

But with the wind set to blow again on Sunday, it is all to play for in East Lothian.

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