close
close

Scottie Scheffler is unstoppable and wins another Masters green jacket

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Scottie Scheffler spent more time looking at his feet than any other white ranking at Augusta National, and they all showed what everyone was looking at — another Masters champion, the undisputed best player in golf.

He prefers to stay in his own little world, population one.

No one is close to him in the match right now.

Scheffler is No. 1 in the world, by a margin not seen since Tiger Woods was in his prime. In nine tournaments this year, he hasn’t had a round above par and has earned more than $15 million. And on Sunday he provided the biggest piece of evidence when he put on that green jacket.

Scheffler took the lead with beautiful shots around the turn, continued down the back nine as his challengers faded through errors and closed with a 4-under 68 to claim his second Masters in three years with a four-shot victory.

“I had a lot of really talented players trying to chase me, and I knew pars weren’t going to get it done,” Scheffler said.

Unlike two years ago, when he won his first major, there were no doubts, no tears and no woman to reassure him on Sunday morning that he was built for a moment like this. His wife, Meredith, was home in Dallas expecting their first child at the end of the month.

Scheffler also made sure there was no drama.

Like Woods, he made the outcome seem inevitable with sublime control, the difference being a peach shirt instead of Sunday red, and no fist bumps until it was over.

After sharing hugs with caddy Ted Scott and Collin Morikawa, Scheffler turned to the crowd with both arms raised. “WOOOOOO!” he shouted, pumping his fist.

Masters newcomer Ludvig Aberg, one of four players who at one point held a share of the lead, lost ground when his approach entered the pond to the left of the 11th hole and he made a double bogey. Against a player like Scheffler, those mistakes are not easy to overcome.

Aberg closed with a 69 and finished second, not a bad debut for someone playing in his first major championship.

Morikawa, who had two double bogeys to fall out of the hunt, shot 74 and finished in third place with Tommy Fleetwood (69) and Max Homa (73), whose hopes ended at the par-3 12th with a double bogey from the shrubs. not Rae’s Creek.

“He’s pretty great at letting things roll off his back and taking very difficult golf shots and treating them like their own,” Homa said of Scheffler. “He’s obviously a huge talent, but I think that’s his superpower.”

Woods, meanwhile, closed with a 77 to finish in last place at 16-over 304, the highest 72-hole score of his career. This came two days after he set the Masters record for his 24th consecutive cut.

The 27-year-old Scheffler is the fourth youngest player with two green jackets. He has now recorded three wins against the strongest fields – Bay Hill, The Players Championship and the Masters – in his last four starts. The other was a second-place finish in Houston.

Scheffler finished at 11-under 277, earning $3.6 million from the $20 million purse.

Perhaps even more intimidating for the rest of golf is that Scheffler has now racked up 10 wins worldwide since his first PGA Tour title at the Phoenix Open just two years and two months ago.

During that stretch, Scheffler has finished in the top 10 a whopping 65% of the time.

It was the fourth Masters in a row when the winner came to the 18th green with one arm in the green jacket. That doesn’t mean Sunday was a walk in golf’s most beautiful garden.

“I felt like I was fighting all week,” Scheffler said. “It’s been a long week. I have had to overcome some ups and downs. And you know, I’m very happy to be sitting here with you.

Four players held a share of the lead at various points along the front nine, before Scheffler began to assert himself around the turn with three straight birdies.

He went up and down with a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5 eighth. He hit the perfect wedge that hit the ridge and came in inches coming in at number 9, leaving him with a tap bird. And then he made another 10-foot birdie putt at the 10th to build a two-shot lead.

“I hadn’t hit a lot of good iron shots, which is a little unusual for me,” Scheffler said. “And going into No. 9, it was nice to feel like I hit a really well-struck shot and that set me up for a really nice back nine.”

And then, just like in Woods’ best days, he let everyone else get the big numbers.

In the group ahead of us, Aberg’s approach to the 11th went off the bank and into the water, leading to a double bogey.

Homa managed a tough par on the 11th, but hit it so long over the par-3 12th that the golf ball crashed deep into the bushes, leaving him no choice but to take a penalty drop. His chip didn’t reach the green and two putts later he had a double bogey.

Morikawa had already started sliding, taking two shots to get out of a deep bunker left of the ninth green for a double bogey. He all but sealed his fate with a shot into the water on the 11th and took a double bogey.

Aberg was the only one to fight back and Scheffler continued to answer with birdies. He hit the 13th green in two and two-putted for birdie. Are approach to the 14th hit the ramp to the back and rolled down to within a foot of the pin.

Are last bird came from just inside 10 feet on the 16th.

Defending champion Jon Rahm, now with the Saudi-funded LIV Golf, closed with a 76 to finish in 45th place, 20 shots behind Scheffler. He was at Butler Cabin to help Scheffler into the green jacket.

Rahm hadn’t played against Scheffler all year and witnessed what PGA Tour players face every week. His tee-to-green play is reminiscent of Woods, but certainly not the emotion, global appeal or number of wins.

Scheffler’s emotions came as he thought about the next prize.

“You’re about to make me cry here at Butler Cabin,” Scheffler said when asked about the upcoming birth. “It’s a very special time for both of us. I can’t put into words what it means to win this tournament again. I really can’t put into words what it will be like to become a father for the first time. I’m looking forward to it to come home and celebrate with Meredith.

“It’s been a long week here without her, but I’m just looking forward to going home.”

___

AP Golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press