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Scottie Scheffler Lifts His First Masters Championship Trophy

PGA
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Posted by Admin 11 Apr 2022

It would have been understandable if Scottie Scheffler, who has been the paragon of poise as he charged to the No. 1 ranking in men’s golf this year, felt just a bit unnerved during the first hour of Sunday’s final round of the Masters Tournament. The three-stroke lead he held over his closest pursuer, Cameron Smith, when the day began had shrunk to a single stroke in the opening two holes.

 

 

Worse for Scheffler, on the par-4 third hole, he yanked his tee shot into the trees then failed to get a pitch onto the elevated green, with his ball trundling backward into a dicey spot below the putting surface.

 

Would it take only three holes for Smith to catch Scheffler? Was the typically tranquil Scheffler, with his everyman nonchalance, about to wilt under the pressure?

 

Anyone who has been paying attention to this year’s PGA Tour, a circuit Scheffler has dominated since February, might have been able to predict what happened next. Scheffler took a bold, aggressive line and confidently knocked a chip into the hole for birdie. Smith would make bogey.

 

Scheffler hitting out of the rough on No. 3. (Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times)

 

Over the next several hours, Scheffler, 25, rebuffed every challenge with the same aplomb to claim his first major championship, running away to win the 2022 Masters by three strokes. His margin of victory would have been larger but for a final show of some nerves during the tournament’s closing sequence on the 18th green, when Scheffler needed four putts, including three from less than five feet, to close out a round of 71. Scheffler finished 10 under par for the tournament, in just his third Masters appearance.

 

Rory McIlroy, who trailed Scheffler by 10 strokes heading into the final round, finished second after an eight-under-par 64. Smith and Shane Lowry tied for third, five strokes off the lead. 

 

The 2022 Masters Final Leaderboard
Apr. 7-10, Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia
RANK NAME R 1 R 2 R 3 R 4 TOTAL  THRU 
1 Scottie Scheffler 69 67 71 71 -10 (278) F
2 Rory McIlroy 73 73 71 64 -7 (281) F
3t Shane Lowry 73 68 73 69 -5 (283) F
3t Cameron Smith 68 74 68 73 -5 (283) F
5 Collin Morikawa 73 70 74 67 -4 (284) F
6t Corey Conners 70 73 72 70 -3 (285) F
6t Will Zalatoris 71 72 75 67 -3 (285) F
8t Sungjae Im 67 74 71 75 -1 (287) F
8t Justin Thomas 76 67 72 72 -1 (287) F
10t Cameron Champ 72 75 71 70 E (288) F
10t Charl Schwartzel 72 69 73 74 E (288) F
12t Dustin Johnson 69 73 75 72 +1 (289) F
12t Danny Willett 69 74 73 73 +1 (289) F
14t Matthew Fitzpatrick 71 73 76 70 +2 (290) F
14t Tommy Fleetwood 75 72 70 73 +2 (290) F
14t Talor Gooch 72 74 73 71 +2 (290) F
14t Harry Higgs 71 75 73 71 +2 (290) F
14t Jason Kokrak 70 76 71 73 +2 (290) F
14t Min Woo Lee 73 75 72 70 +2 (290) F
14t Hideki Matsuyama 72 69 77 72 +2 (290) F
14t Kevin Na 71 71 79 69 +2 (290) F
14t Lee Westwood 72 74 73 71 +2 (290) F
23t Sergio Garcia 72 74 74 71 +3 (291) F
23t Robert MacIntyre 73 73 76 69 +3 (291) F
23t J.J. Spaun 74 70 75 72 +3 (291) F
23t Harold Varner III 71 71 80 69 +3 (291) F
27t Viktor Hovland 72 76 71 73 +4 (292) F
27t Seamus Power 74 74 74 70 +4 (292) F
27t Jon Rahm 74 72 77 69 +4 (292) F
30t Lucas Glover 72 76 72 73 +5 (293) F
30t Russell Henley 73 74 76 70 +5 (293) F
30t Marc Leishman 73 75 71 74 +5 (293) F
30t Sepp Straka 74 72 76 71 +5 (293) F
30t Hudson Swafford 77 69 73 74 +5 (293) F
35t Tony Finau 71 75 74 74 +6 (294) F
35t Joaquin Niemann 69 74 77 74 +6 (294) F
35t Patrick Reed 74 73 73 74 +6 (294) F
35t Webb Simpson 71 74 73 76 +6 (294) F
39t Patrick Cantlay 70 75 79 71 +7 (295) F
39t Tom Hoge 73 74 75 73 +7 (295) F
39t Si Woo Kim 76 70 73 76 +7 (295) F
39t Bubba Watson 73 73 78 71 +7 (295) F
43 Billy Horschel 74 73 79 70 +8 (296) F
44t Christiaan Bezuidenhout 73 71 77 76 +9 (297) F
44t Kevin Kisner 75 70 75 77 +9 (297) F
46 Cameron Davis 75 73 79 73 +12 (300) F
47 Tiger Woods 71 74 78 78 +13 (301) F
48t Max Homa 74 73 77 78 +14 (302) F
48t Adam Scott 74 74 80 74 +14 (302) F
50t Daniel Berger 71 75 77 80 +15 (303) F
50t Mackenzie Hughes 73 75 77 78 +15 (303) F
52 Tyrrell Hatton 72 74 79 80 +17 (305) F


 

Speaking with reporters after donning the ceremonial green jacket awarded to Masters winners, Scheffler talked of feeling calm on the course during the final round but said he was “so stressed out” on Sunday morning.

 

“I cried like a baby,” he said. “I was so overwhelmed.” Scheffler added that he told his wife, Meredith, “I don’t think I’m ready for this.”

 

Scheffler said he could not recall any previous episodes of self-doubt and attributed it to an understanding of how much winning the Masters would mean to him. “I’ve felt at peace on the golf course,” he said, laughing. “It’s off the course that’s hard for me. But I did a good job of keeping my concentration when playing. I calmed right down when I got to the golf course.”

 

For Scheffler, a New Jersey native who was raised in Texas, it was the fourth tour victory in his last six events, a stunning win percentage in a sport with tournament fields of more than 130 players.

 

In February, Scheffler won the Phoenix Open. A few weeks later, he finished first at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and, late last month, he won a World Golf Championships Match Play event. From the first win, it took Scheffler only 42 days to ascend to the No. 1 ranking.

 

Despite his recent successes, Scheffler has remained something of an unknown to casual sports fans because he had not won a tour event before this year. But there were signs last season that Scheffler was beginning to find his rhythm at the upper level of men’s competitive golf. In the last three majors of that season, he finished tied for eighth at the British Open, tied for seventh at the U.S. Open and tied for eighth at the P.G.A. Championship.

 

Scheffler, like Smith, is one of a new generation of younger golfers who are becoming frequent tour winners. The top seven golfers in the men’s world golf rankings are 30 or younger.

 

Cameron Smith, right, who began the day three shots behind Scheffler, shot 73.

 

McIlroy, who has won every major golf championship except the Masters, was not expected to be part of the late-round heroics on Sunday. He had broken par in only one of his first three rounds. But with birdies on two of his first three holes, McIlroy suddenly looked more comfortable than he had in any recent final round at the Masters. He shot a four-under 32 in his first nine holes, then roared onto the back nine with birdies on the 10th hole and an eagle on the par-5 13th, which moved him to six under par — just four strokes behind Scheffler, who was playing several groups behind McIlroy.

 

McIlroy continued his hot streak with three consecutive pars but failed to capitalize on the par-5 15th hole, which is often reachable in two shots. Instead, McIlroy settled for par, a score he also made on the 16th and 17th holes.

 

But McIlroy had a last, unforeseen flourish. He sent his approach shot to the 18th green into a bunker to the right of it, but then lofted a splash from the sand onto the putting surface and watched the ball traverse a swale along the green and finally sink into the cup for a birdie.

 

McIlroy, who has not had much to celebrate in the closing moments of a Masters, flung his wedge into the sand and thrust both arms over his head.

 

A few minutes after McIlroy holed his bunker shot, his playing companion, Collin Morikawa, blasted from the same hazard and sank his shot. The two left the green area arm in arm.

 

While McIlroy was surging, Smith also made another run at Scheffler with a birdie at the 11th hole that kept Scheffler’s lead to three strokes. Next up was the pivotal and devilish par-3 12th hole, where the tournament is often decided and where tournament leaders for decades have seen their title dreams drown in the hole’s small but dangerous water hazard.

 

 

Smith chipped a shot on No. 13. Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times

 

Smith had the honors on the tee, which he ascended before Scheffler. He appeared eager to apply pressure. But Smith’s 9-iron faded off the clubface immediately and was caught in the fickle winds that swirl around Amen Corner. Smith dipped his head in disappointment just as his golf ball plunked in Rae’s Creek in front of the green — to the right of the flag, which is the most common spot for a failed 12th-hole tee shot on a tense Masters Sunday.

 

Scheffler missed the green, but he kept his tee shot dry and then chipped to within 10 feet before sinking a nervy par putt. Smith made a triple bogey and slid well down the leaderboard.

 

“Probably the worst swing of the week for me,” Smith said of his tee shot at the 12th hole. “And at the worst possible time.”

 

Scheffler later extended his lead over Smith and McIlroy with a birdie on the 14th hole that was set up by a spectacular approach shot. Then, at the par-5 15th hole, Scheffler rifled his second shot around a grove of pine trees to clear the pond fronting the green and set up a final birdie.

 

As for his misadventure while putting on the final hole, Scheffler took it in stride.

 

“As I said, I didn’t break my concentration all day; the only time I did was on the 18th green,” he said, smiling. “I was thinking that now I can enjoy this. And you saw what happened.”

 

Scottie Scheffler and wife, Meredith: Adorable photos of golf's star coupleScottie Scheffler and wife, Meredith: Adorable photos of golf's star couple

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