Sports

Scottie Scheffler backs up No. 1 ranking, wins Masters for first major championship


AUGUSTA, Ga. — That new No. 1 rating for Scottie Scheffler appears to be like even higher in a Masters inexperienced jacket.

Two months after Scheffler lastly broke by means of for his first PGA Tour victory, he capped off a most unimaginable 56-day stretch by making his fourth win the largest of all of them: the Masters, by three photographs over Rory McIlroy, for his first main.

Even as a junior, he was carrying lengthy pants in stifling Texas warmth as a result of he wished to look the a part of a tour professional he at all times wished to be. Winning the Masters was past his hopes.

“I never made it this far. It was just a dream of being here and competing,” Scheffler said in Butler Cabin, moments before Hideki Matsuyama helped him into the green jacket. “I can not put into phrases what it implies that I’ll be capable of come again right here for a lifetime.”

The only stumble came at the end, when Scheffler needed four putts from 40 feet before he could claim his first major, and that only mattered in the record book.

He closed with a 1-under 71 for a three-shot victory over McIlroy, who holed out from the bunker on the final hole for a record-tying final round of 64 that gave him the briefest moment of hope that Sunday pressure at Augusta National might get to Scheffler.

No chance. Not on Sunday. Not the last four days. Not the last two months.

“You get on these scorching streaks, and also you simply bought to experience them out as a result of they, sadly, do not final without end,” Justin Thomas mentioned. “But he is doing it in the biggest tournaments. … It’s really, really impressive to see someone that young handle a moment this big so easily.”

The Sunday theater, thrilling and tragic, belonged to everyone else. Scheffler overcame a nervy moment early in the round by chipping in for birdie. He delivered key putts to keep Cameron Smith at bay and never looked rattled, even as he was swatting at short putts at the end.

McIlroy was the runner-up. It was Smith who felt as though he let one get away. The Aussie was still in the game, three shots out of the lead, when he dumped his tee shot in Rae’s Creek on the par-3 12th hole for triple bogey, ending his hopes.

“Just a very unhealthy swing on the flawed time,” Smith mentioned.

Smith closed with a 73 and tied for third with Shane Lowry, who birdied the 18th for a 69.

Scheffler joined Ian Woosnam in 1991 as the one gamers to win a significant — the Masters in each circumstances — of their debuts at No. 1 on this planet.

Everyone ought to have seen this coming. He gained the Phoenix Open in a playoff on Super Bowl Sunday. He adopted that with a comeback win at Bay Hill to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He rose to No. 1 on this planet by successful the Match Play two weeks in the past in Texas.

And now this.

Scheffler completed at 10-under 278 and gained $2.7 million from the $15 million prize fund. That brings his complete to $8,872,200 over his final six begins. After being listed as a 40-1 lengthy shot to win the Masters, Scheffler went off at 18-1 at Caesars Sportsbook. He started the fourth spherical as a -225 favourite.

Scheffler’s massive second got here early within the spherical, and it was no much less important.

Starting the ultimate spherical with a three-shot lead, he watched Smith open with two straight birdies to the minimize the deficit to at least one. Then Scheffler’s method from the pine needles left of the third fairway got here up brief and rolled again down the slope.

His pitch was racing towards the outlet when it banged into the pin and dropped for an unlikely birdie, and a two-shot swing when Smith from the identical place made bogey.

No one bought nearer than three the remainder of the best way. Only the contenders modified.

The twelfth gap stays essentially the most riveting par-3 in golf, the scene of extra collapses than comebacks. Smith grew to become the most recent sufferer.

With Smith coming off birdie at No. 11, his shot was nonetheless within the air when he let his membership slip by means of his palms, slowly closing his eyes twice because it splashed into Rae’s Creek. The subsequent shot wasn’t significantly better, but it surely was no less than dry, and Smith’s hopes ended there with a triple bogey.

He was three behind standing on the twelfth tee. Three holes later, he was eight again.

From there, the one hope resided with McIlroy. All he wanted to finish the profession Grand Slam was to match one of the best last spherical in Masters historical past and get some assist from Scheffler. He solely bought a kind of and needed to accept his first silver medal from Augusta.

“This tournament never ceases to amaze,” McIlroy mentioned. “That’s as happy as I’ve ever been on a golf course right there. Just having a chance — and then with Collin [Morikawa], we both played so well all day — and for both of us to finish like this, I was just so happy for him, too.

“I’ve by no means heard roars like on the 18th inexperienced.”

The greatest ones had been saved for Scheffler.

ESPN’s David Purdum and The Associated Press contributed to this story.



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