2023 Players Championship: Min Woo Lee, Tommy Fleetwood among seven golfers who can catch Scottie Scheffler
Let’s be honest: the Players Championship is over. Scotty Scheffler hit 65 from a birdie last Saturday to get down to 14 to take a two-stroke advantage over Ming Woo Lee and a four-stroke advantage over Cam Davis. It is likely that this was Scheffler’s sixth win in his first 97 PGA Tour starts.
Sheffler is a monster that can hit the ball. He loses field shots in these fields and still leading among the best golfers. It’s partly because he plays long and consistent off the board, partly because he’s a terrific iron player, and partly because he’s so damn good at TPC Sawgrass.
With Sunday’s victory, Scheffler will join Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as they become the only golfers to hold the Masters and Players Championships at the same time. This is an outstanding company and highlights what Scheffler has been doing for the past 15 months. He and John Rahm were the best players in the world at this stage, but Scheffler excelled in the biggest tournaments.
Scheffler has a few good players behind him and could very well hit 73 or worse and lose to someone who drives up the leaderboard in the last 18 holes. But the likelihood of this is doubtful at best. Scheffler has led the final round of the PGA Tour five times in his career. He has two wins, a playoff loss and two losses.
So ok, maybe not. above …but it’s probably all locked up. If not, here are seven golfers who could catch Scheffler on Sunday.
1. Min Woo Lee (-12): I completely agree with Lee, about whom Aaron Rye (the fifth defender of Sheffler) said the following: “He is a great, great player. there is a weakness. I think he will be the star of the PGA Tour in the coming years.” Lee is a threat who isn’t afraid to go up against Scheffler in the finals. But he doesn’t hit as well as Scheffler and actually loses shots on the field due to his iron game. He’s had a great week, but he won’t have a battery to drain Scheffler to the end,” it says all over it, but if you’re interested in any stock, I bought a ton after he posted this tweet last year.
2. Cam Davis (-10): Davis is a reserved player who’s been hitting a hell of a golf ball this week and reached 67 on Saturday. Is he ready to go from fourth to second in the world to win the Players? He has the skills to do it, but on Sunday there will be a 300-level lesson from Scheffler on how to close a golf tournament. He will have to navigate in a place where he has never been before, and watching this should be exciting.
3. Tommy Fleetwood (-9): Fleetwood was nearly flawless on Saturday with 65. He’s third in the field from tee to green for three rounds, and it’s one of the best places he’s been in to score what would be the signature victory at TPC Sawgrass. He has the drive to chase Sheffler until Sheffler shoots something in the 60s, but Fleetwood has sometimes struggled to close big wins.
According to Data Golf, Fleetwood’s expected winning percentage has declined in all of the final rounds in which he has been in the top five (where he will be this Sunday). However, the ability is there. It’s just a matter of taking a few breaks and landing a powerful closing blow.
Fleetwood spoke after the round about how difficult it is to win the Tour: “I noticed that the standards have improved in the last two, three, four years. The players are getting better, but the pitches aren’t getting particularly light. but the standards are getting higher and you have to be very, very good these days. This is noticeable, I think, in all tournaments and whoever is on the field, anyone can come and win, as always, but I just think more.
4. Sungjae Im (-8): I don’t know if Im, who is six points behind leader Scheffler, is really struggling here, but he’s hitting the ball well this week. If anyone other than players under 9 has a chance, it’s probably him.
5. Tom Hoge (-8): Why not us?! Hoge cut the number before coming out and setting the course record on Saturday in the third round. This may take another Sunday’s track record to beat Scheffler, but there’s no doubt Hoge will go for it.
6. Aaron Rai (-9): The Englishman hasn’t been in the top 10 since the Houston Open last fall. He will go into Sunday’s final with perhaps more momentum than anyone after finishing his third round birdie-eagle-birdie style (that eagle was the ace on the 17th), but I don’t think he’ll have enough firepower to take on Scheffler. , Davis, Fleetwood and Lee on the last 18 holes.
7. David Lingmert (-8): Lingmert very easy to hurt, even though he wore the worst clothes in golf history when he finished second at The Woods at the 2013 Players Championship. Good news? He was the third best iron on the golf course, which is very demanding on him. He is second only to Scheffler and Collin Morikawa. Lingmert is unlikely to win, but don’t be surprised if he breaks into the top three.
David Lingmert made his Players debut in 2013 when he shared a 54-hole lead with Tiger and Sergio. Closed at 72 to finish T2, two shots back from Tiger.
Lingmert has since retired from MC-MC-T72-MC to TPC Sawgrass, with his last start until this week in 2018.
Currently T3. pic.twitter.com/r1lloCJmAY
— Brentley Romine (@BrentleyGC) March 11, 2023