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QBE Shootout: Abraham Ancer, Matthew Wolff have top combined world ranking

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NAPLES, Fla. — In the past few months, Abraham Ancer and Matthew Wolff became familiar with leaderboards at major championships.

This weekend, they’ll be getting familiar with each other. The two haven’t played together before other than a practice round here and there.

But the two come into the QBE Shootout, whose first round in the scramble format is Friday, with the top combined world golf ranking and the favorites.

“I haven’t known Abe too long, but I feel like the first time we met was probably about a year ago,” said Wolff, who played with Viktor Hovland in his first Shootout last year. “When I got out on Tour he was out here for a couple years. As soon as we met, he’s a really laid-back guy. I feel like I am, too, but I feel like that’s what’s going to make our team so nice.

“Just like not only our golf games are going to like work really well together, but also our personalities. We’re going to go out there, we both love winning, we both want to win and compete and we’ve been doing it for our whole lives, but at the end of the day we’re going out there having a good time, joking around.”

Neither of them were joking around a few months ago. They were in serious contention in major championships.

Ancer started the Masters in the final group, but did not play well. Wolff had the third-round lead in the U.S. Open, but Bryson DeChambeau pulled away to win it.

Neither had been in those situations before.

Ancer shot a 4-over 76 and tied for 13th at Augusta.

“I learned a lot my last round of the Masters,” Ancer said. “It was really cool to be in the last group for my first time playing there. It was a big-time group, too. Didn’t play my best. I definitely let one putt kind of get in my head and just didn’t feel really good after hole 2, but I mean I took a lot of notes.

“I was in spots on greens that I guess I didn’t do my homework well enough in my practice rounds, a couple of breaks that kind of threw me off. Other than that, the more I put myself in those situations, the better I’ll come out in other events.”

Matthew Wolff waves after putting out on the 17th green during the final round of the U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club. Photo by Danielle Parhizkaran/USA TODAY Sports

In the Open, Wolff shot 5 over par in the final round, but DeChambeau was 6 under and won by three.

“I didn’t get it done at the Open, but I felt like it was a really good—you know, really good place to put myself and I’ve learned a lot from it,” Wolff said. “I think I’ve grown as not only a player physically, but just mentally.

“I think the biggest thing I took away from being in that final group is just the comfort level of being out here because no matter who you are, no matter what tournament it is, we love competing and we always want to win. I think that sometimes in those stages, the U.S. Open and the Masters and the biggest stages in golf, you kind of get ahead of yourself and you kind of make the stage bigger than what it is.”

There is a bit of a unique quality to the team—Ancer went to Oklahoma, and Wolff went to rival Oklahoma State.

“The OU-OSU rivalry always will kind of be there, but for this week I’m really glad that he’s on my team,” Wolff said.

Ancer and Wolff are paired together because they have a mutual sponsor, Perficient. And they have a mutual agreement that their respective games will pair together well.

“Our games really like fit really well together,” Wolff said. “I’m obviously a little longer off the tee and so I’m going to try to go and mash it and have a lot shorter clubs in, and Abe’s an unbelievable wedger, iron player and putter and stuff and every part of his game is a strength and every part of my game is a strength.”

“Long story short, I’m going to hit the fairway and he’s going to go for it every single time,” Ancer said. “I’m going to try to secure the fairway and have a look at the green and he’s going to just rip it. I think it’s going to be fun. I’m really pumped and looking forward to (Friday).”

Wolff also said the two have a good plan going into the tournament, which has modified alternate shot on Saturday and better ball on Sunday. He said he and Hovland kind of got in their own way when it came to that last year.

“I think we almost over strategized last year with Viktor,” Wolff said. “I think like we were so like ‘OK, so Viktor’s going to go first off the tee.’ I mean, that was fine with the strategy, but then we got too much ‘Oh, whoever hits the approach shot on the green is going to be the first one to putt. And then as soon as that didn’t work, we like switched it up and we were trying to do a bunch of different things.”

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original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/12/10/qbe-shootout-abraham-ancer-matthew-wolff/

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