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Xander Schauffele walks off the eighth hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Valhalla Golf Club. Image Credit: Reuters

Louisville: A relentless Xander Schauffele tied the record — again — for the lowest score in a men’s major championship round on Thursday, carding a flawless nine-under par 62 in the first round of the PGA Championship in Louisville.

The American also shot 62 at the US Open a year ago in Los Angeles and showed that performance was no fluke at Valhalla Golf Course, playing what he said may be the best golf of his career.

“There’s spurts, moments in time where you feel like you can control the ball really well; you’re seeing the greens really well; you’re chipping really well. But over a prolonged period, it’s tough to upkeep high performance,” he said.

“I’d say it’s very close to (my best) if not it.” Starting on the back nine, he used his powerful drive to his advantage to tame Valhalla, with five birdies in his first nine holes, including one on the long par-four 16th.

Fine form

He launched his latest campaign for a maiden major in fine form after second-place finishes at Wells Fargo and at the Players Championship, but has not won a PGA title since 2022.

“Not winning makes you want to win more, as weird as that is,” Schauffele told reporters.

“I react to it, and I want it more and more and more and it makes me want to work harder and harder and harder. The top feels far away, and I feel like I have a lot of work to do. But (I am) just slowly chipping away at it.” Schauffele, who has been close to ending his drought at the majors for years, with 12 top-10 finishes since 2017, said he “might wipe the slate clean” before the second round, knowing that the course could throw anything his way.

“Who knows with the weather, it might rain, so the course might be playing completely different,” he said. “Just going to bed knowing I’m playing some pretty good golf.”