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Sunday afternoon at Augusta National, as the shadows made by Scottie Scheffler, who is 6 feet 3 inches tall but plays like a giant, became longer, so did the shadows projected by the surrounding pine trees.
Being able to enter the 72nd hole of the Masters Tournament holding a five-stroke lead is cause for celebration. Joy is what comes immediately, even after missing two little putts on the final green, errors more shocking than consequential because Scheffler had previously done the hard work. Joy is what comes presently because Scheffler had already done the work.
At that point, Scheffler had already weathered challenges from Cameron Smith, who played with him in the last round, and Rory McIlroy, who began the day 10 shots behind Scheffler and roared into contention with a 64. Scheffler went on to win the tournament.
However, Scheffler responded to the threats that came from both close and distant. Both Smith and McIlroy ran out of holes before they reached the 12th one. With a round of golf that was nothing short of magnificent, Scottie Scheffler not only became the 10th Texan to win a Green Jacket but also solidified his position as the best golfer in the world.
After shooting a final round of 71, the 25-year-old ended at 10-under par, 278—three strokes better than McIlroy, five better than Smith, and five better than Shane Lowry. Following him at position 284 was Corey Conners, then Will Zalatoris, and finally Collin Morikawa.
The convincing result was a far cry from Scheffler’s mood earlier on Sunday, when he was agonized from the stress of the moment as he spent the long hours between waking up and teeing off with his wife, Meredith, in their rental home. The convincing result was a far cry from the mood Scheffler was in earlier on Sunday.
The words “I cried like a baby this morning” were spoken by Scheffler. “I was under a lot of pressure. I was completely at a loss for what to do. I was sitting there telling Meredith, “I don’t believe I’m ready for this.” I don’t think I’m ready for this. I just felt like I couldn’t keep up with everything that was going on, and I kept saying, “I’m not ready, I don’t feel like I’m ready for this type of stuff.”
The two of them had a conversation about their religion and how they could accept whatever was going to take place, and Scheffler was able to calm down. Despite the fact that his recent statistics have established him as being at the pinnacle of his sport, Scheffler stated that “my identity is not a golf score.”
Before Scheffler finally won his first PGA Tour event in Phoenix in the middle of February, he competed in 65 PGA Tour events as a professional. Since then, his record has been somewhere between sizzling and burning, and he has been just as dominant in senior circles around Dallas as he was in junior circles while he was growing up. The Masters was his fourth victory in six starts.
Arnold Palmer was the last player to drive down Magnolia Lane on a Sunday night in April after a season in which he won four tournaments, including the Masters, and it occurred in the year 1960. Only 42 days between Scheffler’s first victory and his ascension to the top of the world rankings, but he is expected to maintain his position there for a significantly longer period of time.
After having a record-tying five-stroke lead through 36 holes and leading Smith by three going into the final round, Scheffler saw his lead quickly trimmed to a single shot after birdies from Smith on Nos. 1 and 2 on the warm, sunny day. Scheffler’s record-tying five-stroke advantage through 36 holes was tied with Smith’s three-stroke lead going into the final round.
The third hole, which was a par 4, marked the beginning of the turning point. Both golfers were forced to take their third shots from a distance of approximately 30 yards up a steep hill that led to the green. Scheffler had a good judgment of a low pitch, and he bounced off of it precisely into the hill. It moved in the direction of the hole and made a successful birdie putt. As a result of Smith’s inability to get up and down, Scheffler’s lead was restored to its previous level of three. It never shrank to any lesser extent.
“What is most critical was getting the ball up-and-down,” said Scheffler. “That is the most important thing.” “The fact that it went in was definitely much beyond the norm. The importance of comparing 4 and 5 cannot be overstated. After that, I pretty much simply settled into a cruising pattern. I had a good feeling about pretty much all of the components of the game I was playing. My swing might have seemed a little bit wrong at times, but other than that, I had the impression that I wasn’t ever really going to make a bogey.
Throughout the entirety of the Tournament, Scheffler’s play around the greens stood out as particularly impressive.
The winner of the 2010 U.S. Open said, “Worked on my short game for approximately two hours this morning after studying Scheffler for the last couple of days.” After Scheffler’s incredible pitch-and-run on No. 3, Open champion Graeme McDowell commented on social media how impressive that was. It’s possible that we’ll need to put in a few more hours. Ridiculous.”
On the CBS broadcast, three-time winner Nick Faldo stated something along the lines of, “Reminds me of Seve very much.” “Brings to mind Jordan Spieth at the prime of his career.”
The par-3 12th hole, which is played so frequently on Sundays, ended up being a crucial moment. Smith, who had just made a birdie on the challenging 11th hole and was back to within three shots of the lead, “made a really bad swing at the wrong time,” as he put it, and his 9-iron splashed in Rae’s Creek. This was a huge mistake that led to a triple-bogey 6, which was the worst score of the round. “I wasn’t even attempting to get close to that pin. It was nothing more than a horrible swing.”
McIlroy’s round was saved by an eagle he made at the 13th hole, but he was still five strokes behind at that point and was only able to make one more birdie, which he did by sinking a bunker shot at the 18th hole. McIlroy shared his thoughts, saying, “I thought if I could shoot 63 today, that would give me a chance.” “Today, that was kind of like my lucky number. I’m afraid I wasn’t exactly successful, but I gave it my best attempt.”
When Scheffler was a child, he began taking golf lessons from Randy Smith at Royal Oaks Country Club. Smith had previously instructed a number of tour professionals, including Justin Leonard, who went on to win the 1997 Open Championship. Since that time, Scheffler had aspired to and worked toward achieving success as a professional golfer.
I would wear pants and a collared shirt to third-grade class and get made fun of, but I always wanted to be out here, Scheffler said. “I grew up around so many guys out there, just watching them and learning from them,” Scheffler said. “I wore pants when I was a kid at Royal Oaks because I wanted to play golf on the PGA Tour.”
When Scheffler was 10 years old, he wore out a wedge. Smith took it to a seasoned club expert for refurbishing, and the technician was astounded by what he saw: a small sweetspot whose grooves were so worn out that it reminded him of wedges used by the unparalleled ball-striker Ben Hogan. Scheffler’s work ethic was always strong, and his talent was obvious.
He does not spend much time thinking about results; he just tries to get better every day, Leonard said when reached during the final round. “He just continues to work hard and be prepared when the bell rings,” Leonard said. “He talks about being the same player he was just a few weeks before winning. I believe it.”
The calm was accompanied by full concentration on Sunday, when Scheffler tried to mimic the intense focus that Tiger Woods employed when winning his first Masters 25 years ago, excelling in the final round while playing with a large lead. Ted Scott, who used to work for two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson and has been with Scheffler during this hot streak, assisted Scheffler in that goal. Scheffler said he felt at peace during play this week. He was assisted in that goal by caddie Ted Scott.
“I tried not to look up. I tried to keep my head down and just keep doing what I was doing because I didn’t want to break my concentration,” Scheffler said. “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. Thanks, Tiger.” “I tried not to look up. I tried to keep my head down and just keep doing what I was doing because I didn’t want to break
It won’t be long until younger players try to emulate what Scottie Scheffler accomplished this week; if they haven’t already.
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