Scottie Scheffler wins The Players Championship, first repeat winner in history

GettyImages 2092051441

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Scottie Scheffler, the No. 1 player in the world, has done it again.

Not only did Scheffler become the first back-to-back winner in The Players Championship’s 50-year history, shooting a final-round 64 to finish at 20-under, one shot ahead of three players, but it was also the second straight week Scheffler has won on the PGA Tour.

Scheffler holed out for eagle on No. 4 Sunday and then caught fire, catching leader Xander Schauffle with a birdie on No. 12 and then another birdie on No. 16 to get to 20-under. Three men went to the 18th hole at 19-under and with a chance to tie Scheffler, but Brian Harman, Schauffele and Wyndham Clark all settled for par. The most agonizing among them was Clark, the last man on the course who watched helplessly as a 17-footer rolled around the cup before staying out.

Scheffler began the day at 12-under, five shots back of Schauffele and in a tie for sixth place. He had a 5.9 percent chance to win after the third round, per, and that would have been an accomplishment in and of itself after his Friday morning round was interrupted by the need for medical attention on an injured neck.

Scheffler briefly considered pulling out of the tournament but finished the second round with a 69, then shot a 68 on Saturday despite admitting afterward he had to play up a club from his normal distances because of the ailment.

“I did what I could to hang around until the neck felt better,” Scheffler told NBC after celebrating the win on the TPC Sawgrass driving range, where he had been preparing for a potential playoff.

The neck was not a problem on Sunday, good news for Scheffler and bad news for the rest of the pro golf. A month out from the Masters there’s a considerable gap in form from Scheffler to everyone else. There’s not been a better iron player since prime Tiger Woods — Scheffler gained 6.48 strokes tee to green on Sunday, 1.42 strokes more than the next-best man, Grayson Murray. That’s the distance between Murray and the player in eighth in the category.

Scheffler’s ball striking was so good he only needed 25 putts in his final round.

He has now won eight times in 26 months. There’s the 2022 Masters win, of course, but now two Players Championships, two Arnold Palmer Invitationals, two WM Phoenix Opens and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. It’s a dominant streak of claiming victories at many of the biggest events the PGA Tour has to offer, besting deep fields.

On Sunday that included the reigning U.S. Open winner (Clark), the reigning Open Champion (Harman) and the No. 6 player in the world (Schauffele). None of them played poorly — a 69, 70 and 68, respectively, on the par-72 course. But they each bogeys at critical moments and watched as Scheffler — with one eagle, six birdies and 11 pars — took control.

(Top photo of Scottie Scheffler: Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images)

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top