Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler on Sunday captured his first major title by winning the Masters in dominating fashion, holding firm down the stretch to seize the green jacket after Tiger Woods completed his comeback from severe leg injuries.
Scheffler fired a final-round one-under-par 71 to finish 72 holes on 10-under 278 and defeat four-time major winner Rory McIlroy by three strokes with Australian Cameron Smith and Ireland’s Shane Lowry sharing third on 283.
“It was a long day, a tough day for me,” Scheffler said. “I just tried to keep my head down and execute my shots.”
Scheffler, who only won his first PGA title in February, holed a spectacular chip-in birdie from 87 feet at the par-4 third to blunt an early charge by Smith, last month’s Players Championship winner.
“It was not a shot I expected to see go in, but it got things off and rolling for me,” Scheffler said.
He also birdied the 14th and sank a 14-foot birdie putt at the par-5 15th to signal there would be no collapse to open a door for McIlroy, chasing an Augusta National win to complete a career Grand Slam.
Scheffler endured an agonizing double bogey at the 18th hole, needing three putts from inside five feet before finally sinking the putt to secure his breakthrough major triumph.
“I didn’t want to break my concentration,” Scheffler said. “The minute I did was on 18 green, when I finally got on there and I had a five-shot lead and was like: ‘All right, now I can enjoy this.’ And you saw the results of that.”
The 25-year-old American took a US$2.7 million top prize from a US$15 million purse and joined 1991 Masters champion Ian Woosnam as the only players to win majors in their debut events as world No. 1.
Scheffler is only the fifth player to win the Masters while atop the rankings, joining Welshman Woosnam and Americans Fred Couples, Dustin Johnson and Woods, whose epic injury fightback dominated attention all week.
Spectators gave Woods a standing ovation at the 18th green for his astonishing return to golf 14 months after a car crash that left him hospitalized for weeks and unable to walk for months.
“I wasn’t playing my best, but to have their support out there, I don’t think words can describe it,” Woods said.
The 15-time major winner fired weekend 78s, his worst Masters rounds, to finish with his highest Augusta National 72-hole score of 301 and in a worst-ever 47th place.
That Woods was able to walk the course and play at all was nothing short of incredible, given the 46-year-old medical marvel had not played a top event for 17 months and feared amputation of a right leg now held together with rods, plates, pins and screws.
“Given where I was a little over a year ago and what my prospects were, to end up here and be able to play in all four rounds, even a month ago, I didn’t know if I could pull this off,” Woods said.
Woods arrived at Augusta chasing a record-tying sixth Masters crown and departed knowing he had the fortitude to play majors again.
“It has been a tough road and one that I’m very thankful to have the opportunity to be able to grind through,” Woods said.
Former NBA sensation Jeremy Lin, who recently announced he is joining the Kaohsiung Steelers in the P.League+, is to arrive in the country next week, the Taiwanese American wrote on Instagram yesterday. “I want to be very honest in telling everyone my plans because I don’t want any miscommunication. As of what I know, I will be flying to Taiwan next week, but I don’t know which day as I will need some time to meet my teammates, fit into the [team’s] system, and get prepared physically,” Lin said. Lin said he has not played an official basketball game for about two
Australian Open director Craig Tiley yesterday advised Novak Djokovic’s family to be “really careful” of people using the tournament’s global exposure as a platform for “disruptive” purposes. It follows a video posted on a pro-Russian YouTube account showing Djokovic’s father, Srdjan Djokovic, posing in Melbourne Park with a fan holding a Russian flag that featured the face of Vladimir Putin. It sparked a backlash from Ukraine and led to calls for Srdjan Djokovic to be banned from the tournament. He skipped his son’s semi-final victory on Friday, and it remains to be seen if he will be at today’s final. Tiley told the
More than two decades since their last FIFA World Cup triumph, and without a local consensus pick, Brazil are considering breaking an unwritten taboo: hiring a foreign coach. After six years in the job, Tite left the Brazil post last month following the Selecao’s World Cup quarter-final exit against Croatia. Despite knowing for some time before the Qatar showpiece that Tite was leaving, Brazilian Football Confederation president Ednaldo Rodrigues still has not found a replacement. Now he is widening his search. “We have no nationality prejudices,” he said on Tuesday last week. “We want it to be a respected coach who can bring a
A decade ago when the whippet-like Nairo Quintana burst onto the scene with stunning mountain escapes, Colombian cyclists looked poised to take over the world, but now the nation is in shock as three of its biggest stars flounder for very different reasons. At 32, Quintana is still Colombia’s most popular “beetle” — as its cyclists are known collectively — but he cannot even find a team. Egan Bernal, the only Colombian to win the Tour de France, is struggling to rediscover his former level after a near-fatal training crash, while Miguel Angel Lopez, nicknamed “Superman,” was kicked out of his team