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“What was a very stressful moment turned into a pretty stressless par.”

That was Xander Schauffele’s reaction to a very favourable ruling at the Wells Fargo Championship, which caused quite the stir on social media.

Schauffele fired a 7-under 64 to take a three-shot lead over Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa and Alex Noren in the latest signature event on the PGA Tour at Quail Hollow.

But the American’s early advantage can be attributed to some good fortune on his penultimate hole, as well as his outstanding play.

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On the par-4 eighth ( his 17th), Schauffele pushed his drive way right into the trees and bushes.

It looked almost impossible for Schauffele to advance his ball from the bushes as it nestled near the property fence line. However, after a consultation with rules official Dave Donnelly, it emerged that one of the PGA Tour’s ShotLink towers was in his line of sight to the green.

The tower falls under the ‘Temporary Immovable Object’ category, and PGA Tour chief referee Gary Young confirmed that there was a tiny window that Schauffele could have conceivably punched his shot through.

Schauffele was then allowed to drop away from the trees on the pine straw, with a clear view to the green, before scrambling for an unlikely but ultimately comfortable par.

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“My ball was probably like a foot, two feet from the fence,” Schauffele explained afterwards. “If I went towards the green, the fence kind of worked this way so I had what I could hit, a 4-iron or something low and just kind of run it through. If it gets stuck, I’ll just kind of hit my next one out.

“But I brought the rules official in there with me because I was like, ‘you’ve got to be OK with this because this is literally the only shot I can hit’. So Austin (Kaiser, Schauffele’s caddie) and I moved two massive rocks that weren’t embedded, and then I got relief out of the junk and then hit a pretty good shot on the green from there.”

The fortuitous drop left plenty of fans unimpressed on social media, with fans calling the ruling “inexcusable” and “egregious.”

“Got really lucky multiple times,” Schauffele admitted. “On one with Wyndham finding it, two, being able to move the rocks, and three, the Shotlink tower being in like my only shot line possible. To walk out there with sort of a no breeze four with what I thought was almost out was a really good break.”

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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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