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Scottie Scheffler celebrates victory. Alamy Stock Photo

Dominant Scottie Scheffler wins second Masters title in three years

Scheffler kept his cool as his competition melted on Amen Corner to win by four shots.

WORLD NUMBER ONE Scottie Scheffler captured his second Masters title on Sunday, dominating a back-nine shootout for a four-stroke victory at Augusta National.

Scheffler, who also took the green jacket in 2022, won a record $3.6 million top prize after a drama-filled battle with fellow Americans Collin Morikawa and Max Homa and Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg, who made an impressive major debut.

Scheffler birdied three of the last six holes to fire a four-under par 68 and finish 72 holes over the iconic 7,555-yard layout on 11-under 277 with Aberg shooting 69 to finish second on 281.

Two-time major winner Morikawa had a closing 74 to share third on 284 with Homa and England’s Tommy Fleetwood.

“Scottie is an amazing golfer,” Homa said. “It’s really impressive.”

Scheffler matched Tiger Woods as the only players to win the Masters twice while atop the world rankings.

He also became the fourth-youngest multiple Masters winner at age 27 behind Woods, Jack Nicklaus and the late Seve Ballesteros.

Scheffler, who hasn’t played a round over par since last August, has the second-fewest Masters starts for any two-time winner with five. Only Horton Smith needed fewer, taking two of the first three Augusta titles in the 1930s.

Aberg pressured Scheffler down the stretch but could not catch him.

Scheffler had seized a four-stroke edge but was short of the green at 11 and made bogey while Aberg moved within two with a tap-in birdie at the par-5 13th.

After Scheffler sank a three-footer for birdie at 13 to reach 9-under, Aberg answered with a five-foot birdie putt at 14 to stay within two.

Scheffler responded with a tap-in birdie at 14 and sank a nine-foot birdie putt at the par-3 16th to reach 11-under, stretching his lead to four with two holes to play.

Walking up to the 18th green with the victory secure, Scheffler was greeted by a standing ovation from spectators delighted by his skilled shotmaking.

A crucial streak of three birdies by Scheffler following a bogey at seven featured his most spectacular shot.

After a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-5 eighth, Scheffler lofted an incredible 89-yard second shot at the ninth that rolled down a slope within inches of the hole to set up a tap-in birdie for the solo lead as the crowd roared.

Scheffler added a nine-foot birdie putt at 10, reaching 9-under and boosting his lead to two shots, and his rivals stumbled with double-bogeys.

Morikawa, who fell back with a double-bogey at the ninth after finding pine straw and a bunker, made another double-bogey at 11 to drop out of contention.

Aberg plunked his second shot at the 11th into a pond and made double-bogey, sinking four adrift in his bid to become the first Masters winner in his debut since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

“It was a dream come true to be in this situation, to feel the pressure coming down the final holes,” Aberg said.

Homa, seeking his first major win, hit an unplayable ball into the flowers over the par-3 12th on the way to his double bogey to join Aberg four off the pace.

Well back were third-ranked defending champion Jon Rahm and 15-time major champion Woods.

Rahm made two double-bogeys on the back nine and fired a 76 to finish on 297.

Woods, whose 10-over 82 on Saturday was his worst-ever Masters round, closed with a 77 to finish on 16-over 304, last among 60 players to make the cut in his worst 72-hole Masters effort.

The 48-year-old legend, who has struggled to walk 72 holes since suffering severe leg injuries in a 2021 car crash, said he was planning to play all four majors this year.

“I’m going to do my homework going forward at Pinehurst, Valhalla and Troon,” Woods said. “Hopefully the next three my body will cooperate.”

Elsewhere, Rory McIlroy’s Masters pain goes on, his final round a one-over round of 73 leaving him in a tie for 22nd place, at plus-four for the tournament. He started slowly with a bogey on the first and a par on the par-five second, before finally catching form with birdies on eight and nine. Momentum then stalled with a bogey on 10 and worse was to come with a four-putt on the par-five 13th, where he took another bogey, but did birdie the final par-five, the 15th, set up with a delightful touch up the slope of the green having sent his approach shot too far. He then threw in one last bogey on the par-four 17th to complete another frustrating outing at Augusta National. 

“I still have a little work to do on my game”, McIlroy told Sky after his round. “It hasn’t been my year this year, but I will keep coming back until it is my year. The game felt okay for the most part, I struggled on Friday. As conditions changed, the course got firm and tricky, so if you lose shots early on it’s hard to get them back.” 

Shane Lowry signed for a two-over round of 74 at the end of what proved to be a deeply disappointing week, finishing in a tie for 43rd on eight-over par. 

Lowry came into the Masters in good form, with two top-fives in his last three PGA Tour starts across which his approach play – the stat most rewarded around Augusta – was outstanding.

Unfortunately, Lowry’s putter deserted him on Augusta’s crisp greens: he ranked dead last for strokes gained putting among the 60 players to make the cut. 

Any hope of gaining some Sunday momentum ended with a run of four straight bogeys on holes four through seven. He wrestled a shot back with a birdie on nine, but handed it back with a bogey on 10. He took another birdie on 14 – having holed out for eagle on the 14th fairway yesterday – and clawed another shot back with another birdie on the par-five 15th. 

With reporting by Gavin Cooney  





Written by AFP and posted on

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