It was the last match of the day, so by the time Scottie Scheffler and Matthias Schwab reached the 18th hole, a crowd of about 200 gathered around the putting green.
The sun lowered, peeking just above the farthest hill, a picturesque setting for a dramatic finish.
“Except most of the people there probably didn’t know how crazy a match it was,” said Scheffler’s sister, Callie, who was also his caddie. “It was unbelievable.”
Scheffler’s final stroke — a 5-foot putt for par — gave him his only lead of the match.
“Hats off to him,” Schwab said. “I let up but that is a very, very big comeback.”
Scheffler defeated Schwab in match play, 1 up, on Thursday at The Country Club to advance to the quarterfinals at the US Amateur.
Scheffler, the reigning US Junior Amateur champion, was down three by the fifth hole. He didn’t tie it until the 13th hole, then quickly fell behind by two strokes again.
“I just never gave up, I guess,” the 17-year-old Texas native said.
Scheffler, the No. 55 seed entering match play, is now the comeback darling of this tournament.
He needed 20 holes to win each of his previous two matches.
And at the US Junior Amateur earlier this summer, Scheffler didn’t lead until the 31st hole of the 36-hole final.
Scheffler has now won four straight matches where he trailed by two holes on the inward nine.
“He always had a flare for the dramatics,” Callie said.
By the 18th hole Thursday, Scheffler said he could sense the crowd pulling for him. The rest of the quarterfinal field was already determined with only two Americans advancing.
Scheffler, the back-to-back Texas high school champion, would be the third.
Schwab, a Vanderbilt-bound freshman, is from Austria. He and Scheffler are good friends.
They met several years ago and faced each other at the 2012 Junior Ryder Cup. Schwab defeated Scheffler — and then again when they played Ping-Pong.
“He’s a tiny bit better than me [at Ping-Pong],” Scheffler said. “But I think I finally figured out a way to beat him.”
The teenagers chatted throughout Thursday’s match, even when Scheffler fell behind.
“Just small talk,” Scheffler said.
“It was trash talk,” Schwab insisted. “Started by Scottie, of course. Good fun, but definitely trash talk.”
Scheffler described himself as extremely competitive. He’s looking forward to his senior season of basketball at Highland Park High.
He’ll play golf at the University of Texas in 2014.
Now, he plays with a competitive confidence that’s evolved over time.
“When I was little I used to have kind of a temper,” Scheffler said. “I’d kind of get too frustrated and that would be the end.”
Not so on Thursday. Scheffler played his best golf when things weren’t going his way, especially late.
He also received a big assist from Callie, a golfer at Texas A&M.
“She made him put that driver away,” their father, Scott Sr., said. “That was huge.”
Scheffler hadn’t hit his driver well for most of the week. So on the 18th hole, he used his 3-wood.
“Turned out it was the right thing to do,” Scheffler said.
Scheffler had less than an hour to prepare for his match against Schwab after his Round of 32 match went into extra holes.
He has a bit more time to prepare for the quarterfinals, where he’ll face Brady Watt of Australia.