ERIN, Wis. — Rickie Fowler, the first-round leader at the 117th U.S. Open, needs little introduction. He’s known to golf fans around the globe.
But who are some of these other names vying for the national championship? Some are anything but household names.
For example: Xander Schauffele, who is contending after a strong showing Thursday (66) and Friday (73). But just who is he? We are glad you asked.
1. First off, it’s pronounced ZAN-der SCHow-flay. Got it? OK, let’s move on.
2. He started his collegiate career at Long Beach State before transferring to San Diego State for his final three years. Golf Channel’s Steve Burkowski talked to Schauffele’s former college coach at SDSU, Ryan Donovan, who said Schauffele took all night classes his final year of college. That way he could wake up early, work on his wedge game at one course and then drive to another and play a round.
3. He’s a PGA Tour rookie and playing in his first U.S. Open (and first major). The 23-year-old La Jolla, Calif., native, qualified for the Open by grabbing one of the final spots out of the nine available at the Memphis, Tenn., sectional. He shot 64-71–135 and then advanced through a five-for-two playoff.
4. Ranked 352nd in the world, he’s made 17 starts on the PGA Tour this season and made the cut in 10 of them. His best finish this season is a T5 at the Sanderson Farms, where he won $153,300. He has three Top 25 finishes.
5. He became the first player in U.S. Open history to shot a bogey-fee round of 66 or better in his national championship debut. What’s ahead for him? Only time will tell.