Xander Schauele seeks to continue hot streak at Genesis Scottish Open

“You see players do it all the time, you get in the good swing of things, start to get comfortable seeing certain shots and seeing certain putts go in,” Schauffele said. “Players always have good stretches and trying to make this one of my best.”

It’s well-timed, as well, with the 150th Open at St. Andrews around the corner. Schauele was runner-up in the 2018 Open Championship after losing the first 54-hole lead of his career.

He’s trying to win back-to-back TOUR starts for the second time in his career, though his victories in the 2018 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions and Sentry Tournament of Champions were separated by several weeks.

How well is Schauele playing? He’s leading despite playing from the harder half of the draw, following a first-round 72 in this week’s toughest conditions of the week with a 65 and 66.

“If you’re trying to win when you’re on the bad side, you just have to be better,” he said.

Cabrera Bello has experience on his side at Renaissance Club, a links-inspired course built and owned by Americans. He won here five years ago, and surged into contention Saturday by playing the first four holes of the back nine in 5 under.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have won here before,” he said. “I always want to win, if not the Home of Golf, the country where golf was invented, playing links golf and with beautiful, sunny and windy conditions, it just makes it even more fun.”

Schauele also took advantage of the scoring holes on the back nine, starting with a birdie on No. 11 after hitting a provisional tee shot because he feared his first was lost. Birdies on 13, 15 and 16 gave him a four-shot lead, but he bogeyed the last two holes to halve his advantage.

“Made some of the worst swings all day at the end there,” Schauffele said. “Just have to clean it up.”

His experience as a leader has helped him confront the situations that await Sunday. He said he “needed” the Olympic victory.

“I needed to get over the hump. I needed to … win while having the lead,” he said.

That experience helped him keep calm at the Travelers Championship, admitting things moved too quickly the previous times he held a lead.

“I’d be sitting back back in the hotel or … house on Sunday thinking, ‘What happened today?’” he said. He’s better prepared and playing better, setting the stage for a win that would make him one of the favorites entering The Open.

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