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Scheffler, Burns headline Colonial field

World number one Scottie Scheffler plays Colonial Country Club in preparation for the US PGA Tour Charles Schab Challenge

World number one Scottie Scheffler plays Colonial Country Club in preparation for the US PGA Tour Charles Schab Challenge

Scottie Scheffler’s share of second at the PGA Championship on Sunday was enough to return him to the top of the world rankings and now he’ll aim to keep the intensity up at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

Scheffler, a Texas native who remembers attending the US PGA Tour event at Colonial as a young fan, admitted there’s a fatigue factor in the week after a major championship.

Even so, he said Wednesday his goal is to bring the same level of focus demanded by a major to every tournament he plays.

“I think the majors definitely kind of sharpen your focus just because the golf course is so challenging and you have to be on for all 18 holes,” said Scheffler, the 2022 Masters champion. “Any time you lose focus out there, you tend to get punished for it pretty good. So that’s kind of where the wear down factor comes from, just from being at such a high level of focus.

“That’s the type of energy I’m trying to bring to more of the regular tour events, just that intensity for all four days, not just when you’re in contention or not just when I’m playing really well. Just bringing that intensity to every shot, whether it’s the first tee shot tomorrow morning or a shot in the playoff, like it was last year.”

Scheffler started the final round at Colonial with a two-shot lead last year, but on a wind-whipped day his good friend Sam Burns erased a seven-stroke deficit and rolled in a 38-foot birdie putt from off the green to beat the world number one in a playoff.

Scheffler said he takes no extra motivation from that near miss, preferring to treat this week as a clean slate.

“I’m typically pretty hungry to win whatever event it is,” said Scheffler, who has won the Phoenix Open and Players Championship this season. “I show up expecting to come here and play well and do my best.”

Burns, one of a trio of Texas stars on tap this week along with Scheffler and Jordan Spieth, arrives for his title defense off a missed cut last week at Oak Hill.

– Excited to be back –

Burns put a positive spin on that disappointment, saying the enforced rest days had him more than ready for a tournament he also attended as a child.

“I’m obviously very excited to be back here,” said Burns, who won the biggest title of his career at the WGC Match Play in March. “A lot of really good memories from last year, and even memories as a kid. This was always an event that I grew up coming to as a kid, so it’s really special.”

While Scheffler and Burns have every reason to think they can put together a solid week, Spieth is still nursing the left wrist injury that forced him out of the Byron Nelson tournament earlier this month.

The three-time major champion was encouraged by his performance at the PGA Championship, where he improved each round on the way to a share of 29th. But he said he’d be paying close attention to how the injury responds to continued play.

“At this point, I don’t feel like I’m rushing things,” Spieth said. “I think I’m on par with following the docs I’ve talked to, and it’s kind of a week-to-week thing because it’s something that can get worse, and if it does, I need to cut it off immediately. “