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PGA Championship: ‘Shaking’ Scottie Scheffler warmed up in a jail cell. Then he climbed the leaderboard

By Jack Bantock, CNN

(CNN) — His body shaking, Scottie Scheffler sat in a jail cell watching the story of his own arrest unfold on a nearby TV. Once his heart rate had settled, the world’s top-ranked golfer began his warm-up routine for the second round of the PGA Championship in Kentucky.

Yet having begun Friday in the most unforeseen of settings, the 27-year-old ended it in an entirely expected place – in contention at a tournament.

Mere hours after being arrested, charged with felony assault and released from jail, Scheffler eased round Louisville’s Valhalla Golf Club with a five-under 66 to accelerate his pursuit of a second consecutive major title.

“I feel like my head is still spinning,” tournament favorite Scheffler told reporters on his return to the clubhouse.

“I can’t really explain what happened this morning. I did spend some time stretching in a jail cell – that was a first for me … I was just sitting there waiting and I started going through my warmup. I felt like there was a chance I may be able to still come out here and play.

“I was fortunate to be able to make it back out and play some golf today.”

The start of the second round was delayed by 80 minutes following a fatal crash near the course. Tournament organizers PGA of America identified the pedestrian who died as John Mills, a worker with a vendor for the organization.

Scheffler, who was detained and arrested after allegedly injuring a police officer at the scene of the crash as he attempted to drive to the course, began his post-round press conference by extending his sympathies to the Mills family.

“I can’t imagine what they’re going through this morning,” he said.

“One day he’s heading to the golf course to watch a tournament, a few moments later he’s trying to cross the street, and now he’s no longer with us.”

Left “pretty rattled” by the arrest, Scheffler recalled “shaking … in shock and in fear” for close to an hour before beginning his warm-up routine in his holding cell.

Though the two-time Masters champion had seen that tee times had been delayed via an ESPN broadcast on an adjacent TV screen, he doubted he would make his own until an officer informed him to get ready to leave.

Scheffler praised the “tremendous” officers at the jail, who he said made jokes while he was fingerprinted, yet still took “a little while” to calm down as he was driven back towards the course. There, he hugged his parents before stepping up for his opening tee shot, where he was given a rousing welcome by crowds.

“It was really nice. I felt like they were cheering extra loud for me today,” said Scheffler.

“I didn’t really know what the reception would be like,” he added. “It was great having the fans behind me.”

Schauffele keeps soaring Morikawa at bay

After opening with a birdie, Scheffler looked his typical unflappable self as he rolled in five more to go one better than his first round 67 and put himself within three strokes of leader Xander Schauffele heading into the weekend.

It was a more muted afternoon for world No. 3 Schauffele after a remarkable opening round 62 that marked the lowest score ever carded in 106 editions of the major, but a 68 was enough to keep a rampaging Collin Morikawa at arm’s length.

A run of five consecutive birdies rocketed 2020 champion Morikawa into contention, his 65 leaving him just one shot behind the 12-under par benchmark set by American compatriot Schauffele.

“I think as soon as 62 was posted there’s just blood in the water,” Schauffele, chasing a long-awaited first major, told reporters.

“It’s like everyone feels they can shoot low now. That’s just kind of how it goes out here. So I think it definitely helps to keep the head down, at least for now – it’s only two rounds.”

Asked about Scheffler, Schauffele added: “You felt like it was sort of a prank or something when you see a mug shot of Scottie.

“I know Scottie pretty well – we share a physio and we’ve been playing golf for a few years now. I know he’s a solid guy and there was no mal intent by him to anyone, so hopefully he goes out unscathed.”

Fellow American Sahith Theegala is a shot behind Morikawa with one hole left of his second round after darkness suspended play for the final few groups at 8:41 p.m. ET.

Scheffler is among the group a shot behind Theegala in tied-fourth, joined by compatriots Mark Hubbard and Bryson DeChambeau (one hole still remaining), as well as Belgium’s Thomas Detry.

Woods tumbles out after nightmare start

Tiger Woods’ hopes of making it to the weekend were dashed by a horror start Saturday, as he shot six-over 77 to slide to seven-over par overall – well short of the projected one-under cut line.

The 48-year-old had looked on pace to build on a record-breaking 24th consecutive weekend appearance at the Masters last month, but left himself with too much to do after triple-bogeying two of the first four holes.

A closing birdie proved a parting gift for fans and a consolation for Woods.

“My scores did not indicate how the people treated me and how great a week I had. Unfortunately, I hit too many shots,” Woods told reporters.

“I need to clean up my rounds. But physically, yes, I am better than I was a month ago. I still have more ways to go, lots of improvement to go physically.”

Woods is one of several high-profile names that look set to fall short of the cut line, including last year’s Masters champion Jon Rahm, 2022 US Open winner Matt Fitzpatrick and six-time major champion Phil Mickelson.

Play will resume at 7:15 a.m. E.T. (12:15 BST) on Saturday.

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