Schauffele the unknown atop British Open leaderboard
By STEVE DOUGLAS
AP Sports Writer
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Xander Schauffele has enjoyed going under the radar as the least-heralded member of American golf’s high-school class of 2011.
That might not last much longer.
By this evening, Schauffele might leave Carnoustie with the claret jug.
The chilled-out 24-year-old golfer with the hard-to-pronounce name — and a convoluted family history — wound up in the last pairing on the final day of the British Open after upstaging playing partner Rory McIlroy in shooting a 4-under 67 on Saturday.
Today he’ll play with Jordan Spieth, the most famous graduate from ’11 and a guy looking to go back-to-back at the world’s oldest major championship.
All the attention will be on Spieth.
Then again, Schauffele is used to that.
“All the guys I’ve talked to said, ‘Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” Schauffele said of his status. “Like, just today, I played in front of what you call Rory’s crowd, I guess, and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he’s trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times.”
He doesn’t get the attention despite winning twice last year in his rookie season on the U.S. PGA Tour, including the season-ending Tour Championship when he beat Justin Thomas — another from the gilded ’11 class — for the title.
He has finished tied for fifth and tied for sixth at his two U.S. Opens, and was 20th in his first British Open at Royal Birkdale last year.