AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Scottie Scheffler capped off a tremendous two months along with his grandest feat of all, successful the Masters on Sunday to validate his new standing as the perfect participant in golf.
The solely stumble got here on the finish when Scheffler wanted 4 putts from 40 ft earlier than he may declare his first main, and that solely mattered within the file ebook.
He closed with a 1-under 71 for a three-shot victory over Rory McIlroy, who holed out from the bunker on the ultimate gap for a record-tying closing spherical of 64 that gave him the briefest second of hope that Sunday stress at Augusta National would possibly get to Scheffler.
No likelihood. Not on Sunday. Not the final 4 days. Not the final two months.
And to assume it was simply 56 days in the past that Scheffler was nonetheless trying to find his first PGA Tour victory. The 25-year-old from Dallas, constructed for stardom from when he was a 10-year-old sporting lengthy pants to look the half of a professional, now has 4 wins in his final six tournaments.
No prize was higher than that inexperienced jacket.
The Sunday theater, thrilling and tragic, belonged to everybody else. Scheffler overcame a nervy second early within the spherical by chipping in for birdie. He delivered key putts to maintain Cameron Smith at bay and by no means seemed rattled, at the same time as he was swatting at brief putts on the finish.
McIlroy was the runner-up. It was Smith who felt as if he let one get away. The Aussie was nonetheless within the sport, three photographs out of the lead, when he dumped his tee shot in Rae’s Creek on the par-3 twelfth gap for triple bogey and ended his hopes.
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 debut at No. 1 on this planet.
Everyone ought to have seen this coming. He received 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, who completed at 10-under 278, received $2.7 million from the $15 million prize fund. That brings his whole to $8,872,200 over his final six begins.
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 lower the deficit to at least one, after which 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 opening 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 acquired 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 turned the most recent sufferer.
Coming off birdie at No. 11, his shot was nonetheless within the air when he let his membership slip by his arms and he slowly closed his eyes twice because it splashed into Rae’s Creek. The subsequent shot wasn’t significantly better, however a minimum of 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, any hope resided with McIlroy. All he wanted to finish the profession Grand Slam was to match the perfect closing spherical in Masters historical past and get some assist from Scheffler. He solely acquired a type of and needed to accept his first silver medal from Augusta.
Not that he didn’t create some Sunday magic. McIlroy went bunker-to-bunker on the 18th gap, leaving himself proper of the inexperienced and aiming some 25 ft proper of the flag. It rode the slope all the best way into the opening, setting off one of many loudest roars of the week.
Morikawa adopted him in from the identical bunker, totally different angle, and McIlroy may solely chuckle.
“This tournament never ceases to amaze,” McIlroy mentioned. “That’s as pleased as I’ve ever been on a golf course proper there. Just having an opportunity — after which with Collin, we each performed so properly all day — and for each of us to complete like this, I used to be simply so pleased for him, too.