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Thoroghbred Scheffler Gallops to Second Green Jacket


A mid round birdie barrage and a textbook Sunday back nine powered world number one golfer Scottie Scheffler to his second Masters Championship in three years. His sparkling final round 68 featured seven birdies, including three consecutive at holes eight through 10, a tricky if not treacherous stretch of the golf course. Scheffler finished at 11-under, four shots ahead of Swedish rookie phenom Ludvig Aberg (pronounced “OWE-burgh). Americans Max Homa and Collin Morikawa and Englishman Tommy Fleetwood were tied for third, a distant seven shots back at 4-under. Ranked  number one for the last 80 consecutive weeks, he becomes the fourth youngest two-time winner of the Masters, behind Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and Seve Ballesteros.

Scheffler had all facets of his game sharp and executed his strategy to perfection, especially on Sunday’s back nine, where he balanced four birdies against a single bogey at 11. He played the stretch of 13-16 – regarded as the easiest run of holes at Augusta – in three under par, carding birdies at both par-5s, 13 and 15. And it was his iron shot on 14, that covered the flag all the way and settled mere inches away from a cup teetering dangerously on the edge of a knoll that sealed the tournament.

“The best momentum turner that I had today was the birdie putt on 8. I hit two really good shots in there long of the green. I had an extremely difficult pitch that I hit up there about 10, 12 feet from the cup. It was a challenging read because it turned early and it was really straight at the end. So it was a putt that you had to really start on line and hope it held its line. I poured that one in,” Scheffler recalled. “Then kind of gave me some good momentum, and I used that to birdie 9 and 10 and keep pushing because I knew there was birdies out there on back nine. I had a lot of really talented players trying to chase me down, and I knew pars weren’t going to get it done,” he concluded.

The birdie on eight – a short par-5 – was expected, something the contenders knew they had to keep pace with. The birdie on nine unnerved the field. The birdie on 10 gave him separation, and that’s the advantage he needed. The pressure was now on the followers; you have to catch people on the back nine, not play safe and hope they falter. This isn’t the U.S. Open; they play golf for the title at Augusta, not defensive golf.

“it’s a difficult golf course to close out a win on. Like I said, you can’t play overly defensive…. fortunately [I was’] able to hit some really key shots and make some nice birdies there on the back nine.”

Over four rounds, three of which were remarkably blustery, Scheffler finished T-7 in greens in regulation. (Interestingly, Jon Rahm led the field in that stat, yet finished T-45th at 9-over, a full 20 shots back.) Scheffler was also running away from the field in the driving accuracy statistic, leading the field for three days before a milquetoast 9 for 14 performance dropped him to T-9th overall for the week And he was ranked third for the week in putting with a sterling 1.51 average – 27.05 putts per round.

“I would say the two aspects of my game that were probably the best were short game and driving. I think probably short game being the most. I mean, just looking at a day like today, first two holes, or first three holes, really, for that matter, first hole, Teddy and I got the wind completely wrong. I hit a good shot, and we missed our target by like 25 yards, and that’s the kind of stuff that happens around here. But I hit a nice chip up there to about four or five feet, knocked it in,” he stated, explaining further that such up-and-downs happened frequently early in Sunday’s round. “I think probably the short game was most important.”

Scheffler also remembered and put into practice one adamantine maxim at Augusta National – a maxim his pursuers forgot:  driest ball wins. All three of his pursuers took penalties at Amen Corner. Max Homa played too aggressively and took an unplayable from under a greenside bush. Ludvig Aberg hit it into Rae’s Creek. And Morikawa, already reeling from a leaving a bunker shot in the sand and double bogeying nine, hit into the water on 11 for a second double bogey in three holes.

“I got greedy,’’ Morikawa said, in his usually honest and infiltered way. He’s the second best quote on the Tours…behind Bryson that is. “When you’re playing really good, you don’t get greedy. And I got greedy on 9 and I got greedy on 11. I just was trying to hit it a little bit too close. Greed can get the best of us,” he concluded.

Scheffler is now a clear favorite going into next month’s PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky. Scheffler (27) and his wife Meredith are expecting their first child imminently.

“I’m coming home with the trophy!” he beamed energetically to the cameras.