Securing his status as the world’s top-ranked golfer, Scottie Scheffler cruised to a three-shot victory at the Masters on Sunday and earned the coveted “Green Jacket.”
Since winning his first tournament at the Phoenix Open two months ago, Schleffer has gone from obscurity to superstardom in a matter of weeks.
The 25-year-old American carded a one-under 71 to finish with a 10-under 278 total, three shots ahead of Rory McIlroy and five ahead of Australian Cameron Smith.
Final-round 64 by Rory McIlroy equaled the Masters record for lowest score in the final round, and the Northern Irishman made a stirring late charge in his quest for the career Grand Slam.
Three-shot cushion allowed Scheffler to focus on his own game, he said.
“I may have appeared calm, but it’s been a long day. This is a challenging day for Scheffler.
As a result, “I didn’t have to worry about what anyone else was doing out there because I was in control of the tournament today.”
I was confident I could pull it off if I was careful with my belongings and played well on the golf course.
Scheffler, who had won three of his previous five PGA Tour starts, and Smith, who had won golf’s unofficial fifth major at the Players Championship in March, were set to face off in the year’s first major.
Until the 12th hole of the final round, when Smith’s tee shot into Rae’s Creek on the way to a triple bogey six sent him plummeting down the leaderboard to finish in third place.
Asked Smith, “It’s just a bad swing.”
I think this was probably the worst swing of the week, and it came at the absolute worst possible time.” Even though it was a disappointment, “I’ll grow and be stronger for this.”
Smith never recovered from a 73, tying him for third place with Shane Lowry of Ireland, who shot a final-round 69.
Smith started his round with back-to-back birdies, setting the tone for the rest of the day.
Smith bogeyed the third, but Scheffler responded with a stunning chip-in birdie to restore the world number one’s three-shot advantage.
Smith’s second bogey of the day on the par three fourth gave Scheffler a four-shot advantage.
After McIlroy’s eagle at the 13th to get to six-under par for the tournament, Augusta National erupted as the pair began the back nine.
As they approached Amen Corner — holes 11, 12 and 13 — the most famous stretch of golf real estate where so many Masters have been won or lost, McIlroy was five strokes behind Scheffler and one stroke behind Smith.
As McIlroy put it, “I’ve had a lead on the back nine here and haven’t been able to do it.” As she put it, “I just tried to put a little bit of pressure on.”
Smith’s long birdie putt on 11 set off a raucous celebration back home in Brisbane.
Then came the 12th, a hole where so many Green Jacket hopes were dashed after hitting the water with their tee shot.
As Scheffler put it, “It was definitely nice to build a lead.” “Nothing is safe on this golf course’s back nine.” There are so many things I’ve heard, including “don’t hit in the water on 12” and “it doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday.” “I just blocked most of that out and tried to execute.”
It was only on the 18th green, where he missed two short putts that would have given him a bigger margin of victory, that Scheffler showed the slightest sign of anxiety.
It was Scheffler’s goal to avoid a stressful end to the day. Before we reached the 18th green, I didn’t slack off in my concentration. My attitude changed as soon as we stepped foot on the fairway: “This is fun! Let’s have some fun with it!”