An indifferent athlete again provides a familiar story for Scottie Scheffler in the BMW Championship

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Scottie Scheffler’s road to East Lake hit an unexpected roadblock.

Leading by one at the BMW Championship, Scheffler was 20 yards short of the green at the par-5 15th. The tournament hangs in the balance, as an up-and-down here would put him comfortably ahead with just three holes to play at Olympia Fields. One of the game’s best scramblers, a big man with soft hands, Scheffler’s shot landed about a foot short of where he wanted it, checked up on sticky poa annua and settled 15 feet below the hole for a further than the expected bird appearance.

When that putt didn’t fall, it set in motion a surprising sequence of events that produced a surprise winner in Viktor Hovland and an upset FedExCup leader.

Up front, Hovland was putting the finishing touches on his circle of life – a back-nine 28 that gave him a delightful Sunday 61 – and Scheffler was no match. Scheffler doubted his read on a 16-foot birdie putt and missed. Back for the first time all day, he then hit 3-pointers from 21 feet to 17, including a miss from 4 feet. Hovland watched from the locker room as Scheffler’s last-ditch eagle attempt fell short.

Full field standings from the BMW Championship

“I’m a little disappointed,” said Scheffler, who finished two shots behind Hovland’s winning total of 17-under 263. “I think that would be the way to describe it. Victor came out and really beat me today and played a fantastic round. I can hold my head up – I did my best out there today and fought hard. It just ended up being some shots.”

Scheffler’s late swing will do little to distract from his suspicious look.

His ball-striking this season has been at a level not seen since Tiger Woods’ prime. Entering the week, Scheffler was winning 2.69 strokes on the course – the second-best figure in the ShotLink era (since 2004), behind Tiger Woods’ 2.98 in 2006.

BY Ryan Lavner

A season that spanned 11 months and 21 events and roughly 4,700 strokes came to this for Jordan Spieth.

Woods, of course, parlayed that unparalleled streak into eight wins in 15 starts, but Scheffler hasn’t been nearly as dominant. He has won just twice, and not since the Players Championship in March.

The guilty?

A handy player who ranks 146th on Tour. (For comparison, Woods was 21st during the 2006 season.)

At times, Scheffler has been touchy and defensive about its main weakness, even calling it a manufactured media narrative. But he also made some concessions, switching to a hammer-type model ahead of the start of the playoffs last week in Memphis. It didn’t prove to be a quick fix: Scheffler was erratic on the greens here at BMW, where he gained strokes on the field in rounds 1 and 3 while losing a combined 4.2 strokes in the second and final round. For the week, overall, he was ranked 38th in a field of 49.

“It’s definitely disappointing,” he said, “but I approached the shots the way I wanted to today and just didn’t hit the post there at the end.”

There was a small consolation prize for Scheffler, who moved from second to first in the FedExCup standings, giving him, for the second year in a row, a two-shot head start at next week’s Tour Championship. Last year at East Lake, he extended that lead to six shots entering the final round, but shot a final-day 73 to pass Rory McIlroy, who won his third FedExCup title.

Scheffler said he will take Monday off in Atlanta before beginning his preparations for the season finale.

When asked about his recent string of near misses – his six runner-up finishes in the past two seasons are tied for most on Tour – Scheffler struck a philosophical tone.

“I’m never satisfied with how my score is at the end of the day,” he said. “Victor’s probably pretty happy with the 61, but if you ask him, I’m sure he left a shot somewhere out there. Perfection is unattainable in this game, and that’s something I guess we always strive for, but always seem to fall short of.”

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