Scottie Scheffler, who will compete in next month’s U.S. Junior Amateur at The Golf Club of New England, posted a pair of eye-popping scores last week in Dallas.
The Highland Park High junior celebrated his 16th birthday in grand style by shooting a 10-under-par 61 at historic Northwood Club, breaking the course record held by 1999 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Hunter Mahan. This round came exactly a week after Northwood celebrated its 60th anniversary of hosting the 1952 U.S. Open won by Julius Boros. According to the Dallas Morning News, Scheffler even paid homage – sort of – to Boros by taking only eight putts on the inward nine.
In winning the 1952 Open, Boros registered 11 putts on the second nine in the morning round and one-putted seven of the final nine greens to win by four strokes over Ed Oliver.
Two days after his blistering round at Northwood, Scheffler carded a 9-under 61 at Dallas Country Club to match the mark set recently by reigning U.S. Amateur champion Kelly Kraft, a Southern Methodist University graduate who turned pro after the Masters in April.
"He’s a phenomenal talent," Royal Oaks C.C. head pro Randy Smith told Bill Nichols of the Dallas Morning News. Smith is Scheffler’s instructor. "He was just playing for fun. We’d like to see him take that score to a tournament."
Scheffler will be among the 156 contestants vying for the 65 th U.S. Junior Amateur title July 16-21 at The Golf Club of New England in Stratham, N.H. Scheffler, who was defeated in the second round of last year’s championship at Gold Mountain G.C. by fellow Texan Connor Black in 19 holes, was exempt by virtue of being among the top 400 points leaders in the World Amateur Golf Ranking supported by the USGA and The R&A.
Texans have had recent success at the Junior Amateur. Besides Mahan’s triumph in 1999 over Camilo Villegas at the Country Club of York (Pa.), Matthew Rosenfeld (2000), Cory Whitsett (2007) and Jordan Spieth (2009 and 2011) have all hoisted the Junior Amateur Trophy in the last 12 years.
Will Scheffler be the next?
As a sophomore this year at Highland Park, Scheffler won the Texas Class 4A state title by three strokes. The Dallas Morning News story mentioned he has been working through a growth spurt where he grew 8 inches and added 30 pounds over the past year.
"He’s growing so much I don’t recognize him each time I see him," said Smith in the Dallas Morning News piece. "When you’re growing that fast, you just try to maintain some semblance of your swing and stay on top of the equipment to make sure it fits. He’ll be fine as soon as he knows how long his arms are."
Scheffler isn’t the only gifted golfer in his family. His older sister, Callie, 17, has qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior, which will take place July 16-21 at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, Calif. Callie Scheffler is headed to Texas A&M in the fall.