Scottie Scheffler Wins His First Masters Championship

AUGUSTA, Ga. — It could have been comprehensible if Scottie Scheffler, who has been the paragon of poise as he charged to the No. 1 rating in males’s golf this yr, felt only a bit unnerved through the first hour of Sunday’s remaining spherical of the Masters Match. The three-stroke lead he held over his closest pursuer, Cameron Smith, when the day started had shrunk to a single stroke within the opening two holes.

Worse for Scheffler, on the par-4 third gap, he yanked his tee shot into the bushes then did not get a pitch onto the elevated inexperienced, together with his ball trundling backward right into a dicey spot under the placing floor.

Wouldn’t it take solely three holes for Smith to catch Scheffler? Was the usually tranquil Scheffler, together with his everyman nonchalance, about to wilt beneath the stress?

Anybody who has been listening to this yr’s PGA Tour, a circuit Scheffler has dominated since February, might need been capable of predict what occurred subsequent. Scheffler took a daring, aggressive line and confidently knocked a chip into the outlet for birdie. Smith would make bogey.

Over the following a number of hours, Scheffler, 25, rebuffed each problem with the identical aplomb to say his first main championship, operating away to win the 2022 Masters by three strokes. His margin of victory would have been bigger however for a remaining present of some nerves through the event’s closing sequence on the 18th inexperienced, when Scheffler wanted 4 putts, together with three from lower than 5 ft, to shut out a spherical of 71. Scheffler completed 10 beneath par for the event, in simply his third Masters look.

Rory McIlroy, who trailed Scheffler by 10 strokes heading into the ultimate spherical, completed second after an eight-under-par 64. Smith and Shane Lowry tied for third, 5 strokes off the lead.

Talking with reporters after donning the ceremonial inexperienced jacket awarded to Masters winners, Scheffler talked of feeling calm on the course through the remaining spherical however mentioned he was “so stressed” on Sunday morning.

“I cried like a child,” he mentioned. “I used to be so overwhelmed.” Scheffler added that he advised his spouse, Meredith, “I do not suppose I am prepared for this.”

Scheffler mentioned he couldn’t recall any earlier episodes of self-doubt and attributed it to an understanding of how a lot successful the Masters would imply to him. “I’ve felt at peace on the golf course,” he mentioned, laughing. “It is off the course that is onerous for me. However I did a great job of conserving my focus when enjoying. I calmed proper down after I bought to the golf course.”

For Scheffler, a New Jersey native who was raised in Texas, it was the fourth tour victory in his final six occasions, a shocking win proportion in a sport with event fields of greater than 130 gamers.

In February, Scheffler gained the Phoenix Open. A number of weeks later, he completed first on the Arnold Palmer Invitational and, late final month, he gained a World Golf Championships Match Play occasion. From the primary win, it took Scheffler solely 42 days to ascend to the No. 1 rating.

Regardless of his latest successes, Scheffler has remained one thing of an unknown to informal sports activities followers as a result of he had not gained a tour occasion earlier than this yr. However there have been indicators of the final season that Scheffler was starting to search out his rhythm on the higher stage of males’s aggressive golf. Within the final three majors of that season, he completed tied for eighth on the British Open, tied for seventh on the US Open and tied for eighth on the PGA Championship.

Scheffler, like Smith, is one in all a brand new technology of youthful golfers who’re changing into frequent tour winners. The highest seven golfers within the males’s world golf rankings are 30 or youthful.

McIlroy, who has gained each main golf championship besides the Masters, was not anticipated to be a part of the late-round heroics on Sunday. He had damaged par in solely one in all his first three rounds. However with birdies on two of his first three holes, McIlroy all of the sudden appeared extra snug than he had in any latest remaining spherical on the Masters. He shot a four-under 32 in his first 9 holes, then roared onto the again 9 with birdies on the tenth gap and an eagle on the par-5 thirteenth, which moved him to 6 beneath par — simply 4 strokes behind Scheffler, who was a number of teams enjoying behind McIlroy.

McIlroy continued his scorching streak with three consecutive pars however did not capitalize on the par-5 fifteenth gap, which is usually reachable in two pictures. As a substitute, McIlroy settled for par, a rating he additionally made on the sixteenth and seventeenth holes.

However McIlroy had a final, unexpected flourish. He despatched his strategy shot to the 18th inexperienced right into a bunker to the proper of it, however then lofted a splash from the sand onto the placing floor and watched the ball traverse a swale alongside the inexperienced and at last sink into the cup for a birdie.

McIlroy, who hath not had a lot to have fun within the closing moments of a Masters, flung his wedge into the sand, and thrust each arms over his head.

A couple of minutes after McIlroy holed his bunker shot, his enjoying companion, Collin Morikawa, blasted from the identical hazard and sank his shot. The 2 left the inexperienced space arm in arm.

Whereas McIlroy was surging, Smith additionally made one other run at Scheffler with a birdie on the eleventh gap that saved Scheffler’s result in three strokes. Subsequent up was the pivotal and devilish par-3 Twelfth gap, the place the event is usually determined and the place event leaders for many years have seen their title goals drown within the gap’s small however harmful water hazard.

Smith had the honors on the tee, which he ascended earlier than Scheffler. He appeared keen to use stress. However Smith’s 9-iron pale off the clubface instantly and was caught within the fickle winds that swirl round Amen Nook. Smith dipped his head in disappointment simply as his golf ball plunked into Rae’s Creek in entrance of the inexperienced — to the proper of the flag, which is the most typical spot for a failed Twelfth-hole tee shot on a tense Masters Sunday.

Scheffler missed the inexperienced, however he saved his tee shot dry after which chipped to inside 10 ft earlier than sinking a nervous par putt. Smith made a triple bogey and slid properly down the leaderboard.

“Most likely the worst swing of the week for me,” Smith mentioned of his tee shot on the Twelfth gap. “And on the worst doable time.”

Scheffler later prolonged his lead over Smith and McIlroy with a birdie on the 14th gap that was arrange by a spectacular strategy shot. Then, on the par-5 fifteenth gap, Scheffler rifled his second shot round a grove of pine bushes to clear the pond fronting the inexperienced and arrange a remaining birdie.

As for his misadventure whereas placing on the ultimate gap, Scheffler took it in stride.

“As I mentioned, I did not break my focus all day; the one time I did was on the 18th inexperienced,” he mentioned, smiling. “I used to be pondering that now I can take pleasure in this. And also you noticed what occurred.”

Written by trendingatoz

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