AUGUSTA, Ga. — He simply by no means gave anybody else an opportunity.
Scottie Scheffler continued his marvelous run of golf on Sunday at Augusta Nationwide, making key par saves when he wanted to, chipping in for birdie when he wasn’t anticipated to and protecting one sleeve in that coveted inexperienced jacket all spherical lengthy.
Scheffler, who opened the day with a three-stroke lead over Australian Cameron Smith, closed with a one-under 71 to win the 86th Masters and declare his first main title. He completed 10 underneath total, three away from Rory McIlroy, who shot up the leaderboard by tying a final-round document with 64.
Sunday on the Masters was a remaining pairing that featured two of the sport’s hottest gamers. Scheffler entered with three wins in his final 5 begins, and the newest, on the WGC-Dell Applied sciences Match Play, elevated him to No. 1 on this planet.
In the meantime, Smith, 28, had victories in two of his final 4 PGA Tour begins and was coming off a win on the Gamers Championship, the most important of his profession and one which moved him to No. 6 on this planet.
It was little shock neither slowed down at Augusta, as they each chased the primary main title of their profession. And it was alleged to be two-man race, perhaps three, when you thought Sungjae Im, who began the day 5 again, had an opportunity.
However then got here McIlroy.
The World No. 9 hasn’t gained a serious since he picked off the Open Championship and PGA Championship back-to-back in 2014 to say his third and fourth, and he solely wants an elusive Masters title to turn out to be the sixth participant to finish the profession grand slam.
He began Sunday 10 photographs off the lead however made birdies on 1, 3, 7 and eight to show in 32. He chipped in for birdie on 10 and added an eagle on the par-5 thirteenth to get to seven underneath on his spherical, which not solely caught the eye of the ultimate pairing however began chatter of him threatening the Masters course document of 10-under 63. The eagle on 13 bought McIlroy to 6 underneath total, one again of Smith and 5 again of Scheffler, as they performed the ninth gap.
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McIlroy teed off 50 minutes earlier than the ultimate pairing. When Scheffler and Smith took the tee, at 2:40 p.m. native, it was Smith who had the early benefit.
He made birdies on 1 and a couple of to chop Scheffler’s result in one, however each gamers bought in bother on the quick par-4 third gap, and it was a serious turning level. Each went effectively left of the green and hit their approaches in need of the inexperienced, touchdown in practically an identical spots. However Scheffler chipped his in for an unlikely birdie, and Smith couldn’t rise up and down and made bogey. The lead was again to 3.
Smith additionally bogeyed the fourth, and each gamers made birdie on 7. On the flip, with a treacherous run by Amen Nook awaiting, Scheffler led at 11 underneath, with Smith at seven underneath and McIlroy at six underneath. Nobody else had an opportunity.
Scheffler and Smith each bumped into bother on 10 and made bogeys, though Smith’s was extra liable to sting — he badly missed a four-footer from above the opening, giving up an opportunity to achieve a stroke again after Scheffler had completed out.
McIlroy, at six underneath, wanted to reap the benefits of the ultimate par-5, the fifteenth, to have an excellent shot at catching Scheffler, however a foul drive compelled him to punch out — eliminating any probability of going for it in two — and he missed the inexperienced together with his strategy. He did not chip in for birdie and settled for a disappointing par, remaining 4 again.
Smith rebounded with a birdie on 11 and Scheffler rolled in a key par save from seven ft to maintain his lead at three as they moved to the quick par-3 twelfth, the identical gap that ruined Jordan Spieth’s Masters possibilities again in 2016.
However this time it was the chaser — Smith — who was derailed by Rae’s Creek.
Smith plunked his tee shot into the water and air-mailed a wedge over the inexperienced after his drop. He made triple bogey. Scheffler missed the inexperienced effectively left however rolled in a clutch nine-footer to save lots of par once more.
Scheffler stayed at 10 underneath, 4 away from McIlroy and 6 forward of Smith.
After which? McIlroy had one final cost. After 4 straight pars, he went from the green bunker to the greenside bunker on the 18th — then holed it for birdie. The patrons — and McIlroy — went ballistic.
McIlroy shot 64, one off tying a match document, to set the clubhouse lead at seven underneath. Scheffler, who had simply missed his birdie putt on 13 however saved par, had 5 holes remaining and a three-shot lead.
Strain? No, in no way. At the very least, not till the ultimate inexperienced.
Scheffler made birdie on 14 and 15. He two-putted for par on 16 and left only a kick-in for par on 17. When he walked up the green on the 72nd gap, main the most important golf match on this planet by practically half a dozen photographs, he fought again tears. His spouse, Meredith, allow them to stream. His solely blemish this week? A weird four-putt double bogey on the 18th. At that time, it hardly mattered.
It wasn’t alleged to be this simple, his first Masters win in simply his third go to to Augusta Nationwide. Maybe it wasn’t. He simply made it look that method.
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