Xander Schauffele ready to get ‘best of Patrick Cantlay’ at the Genesis Invitational

Xander Schauffele put on a show Saturday at the Genesis Invitational, carding a bogey-free, 6-under 65. He sits at 12-under for the tournament, two shots behind Patrick Cantlay heading into the final round of play.

Cantlay and Schauffele are good friends. They play a lot of golf together and will now play together on a Sunday, again.

“We’ve played in the final pairing a couple of times,” Schauffele said after his round. “I got the best of him at Travelers; he got the best of me at BMW. We know where we stand and how we compete against each other.”

They often play practice rounds together on Mondays and Tuesdays, so this will be nothing new.

“We play a lot week in and week out, and we both love to compete. There’s nothing more that we like to do than compete in big events,” he said. “We’ve done it a few times in the past and taken shots at each other. It’s something we talk about and something we want to keep doing.”

The duo may be friends, but that doesn’t mean they take any heat off each other. Schauffele knows when he plays Cantlay, regardless of practice round or in a tournament, it’s intense.

“We’re trying to beat each other,” Schauffele said. “The only time we’re rooting… hard for each other is when we’re playing team events. We joke, I’m rooting for myself harder than anyone else and same goes for him. Of course, I’d like to see him do well, but when we’re in the final group together, it’s pretty obvious what we’re trying to do.”

Schauffele had to fight hard the past two days to get inside the final pairing. While Cantlay easily handled Riviera Country Club, the 30-year-old started slow but played beautifully the last two days.

After three rounds of play, the former San Diego State Azetec is T2 in strokes gained total, picking up 8.8 strokes on the field. He is No. 7 off the tee, gaining over two strokes and No. 5 in strokes gained putting, picking up over three shots.

Schauffele was 2-under and 10 shots behind Cantlay at the turn on Friday. Since then, the seven-time PGA Tour winner has gone 10-under. Meanwhile, Cantlay’s awful bogey on 17 Saturday opened the door.

Keeping his scorecard clean has been huge for the fave favorite, going bogey-free in his last 38 holes. He wanted to give himself a chance at winning this tournament, and Schauffele has done that.

“There’s just going to be a certain amount of self belief that needs to go in,” Schauffele said. “I’m not going to look at the board too much. I feel like if I can just keep doing what I’m doing, get some pressure on Pat or whoever’s going to be in that group is the most important thing.”

The No. 5 player in the world has incredibly finished runner-up 12 times in his career. Schauffele knows how to contend but sometimes finds it difficult to close. Will Sunday at the Genesis Invitational be his time to shine?

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, be sure to follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.

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