No. 1 Scottie Scheffler stays hot, wins Masters

Jude Papillion, Sports Editor

Scottie Scheffler surprised spectators, winning the 86th Masters Tournament. (Jada Roth)

Scottie Scheffler walked off the 18th green at the Augusta National Golf Club as the champion of the 86th Masters Tournament on Sunday. The No. 1 ranked golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking finished with a score of 10 under par after four rounds in Augusta, Georgia. 

Scheffler, who was steadily climbing in the rankings before running away with his first major championship, was trailed by Rory McIlroy at 7 under, and Shane Lowry and Cameron Smith who both tied for third at 5 under.

Patrons at Augusta National eagerly waited to watch Tiger Woods tee off for the first time since the 2020 Tournament. Woods shocked the sports community by deciding to play this year after nearly losing his leg as a result of a car accident just 14 months ago. While many believed there was a chance he would never play again, Woods started Thursday’s action by shooting a 71, 1 below par. The highlight of Wood’s tournament was a tee-shot on the par-3 sixth hole that was nearly an ace, and Woods tapped in for birdie on his next stroke. 

The next day, however, Scheffler began to surge. After shooting a 3-under 69 on Thursday, Scheffler went lower on Friday, finishing with a 67 on the day and 8 under par through his first 36 holes in the tournament. On the day, Scheffler hit 12 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens, only putting 26 times. Scheffler’s five-stroke lead after the second round tied the largest after 36 holes, with Charl Schwartzel, Sungjae Im, defending champion Hideki Matsuyama and Lowry all tied for second at 3 under. 

Woods’ Friday was not as impressive as his Thursday, shooting 1 over par. The Big Cat remained in contention by making the cut but fell nine strokes behind first-place Scheffler. However, notable golfers including Jordan Spieth (+6), Brooks Koepka (+6), Xander Schauffele (+7) and Louisianan Sam Burns (+5) among others missed the cut and had their weekend plans cut short. 

Scheffler did not shoot in the 60s on moving day but shot a 71 to remain in first place by three strokes. Saturday saw just nine golfers shoot under par and only one who shot under 70. Smith, a runner-up in last year’s Masters finished with a 4-under 68. Im of South Korea also had an impressive Saturday, shooting a 71 and finishing the last 11 holes 5 under with no bogeys. The highlight of the day came when the South African, Schwartzel, holed out on the par-4 10th hole from 136 yards out for an eagle. The 10th hole is regarded as Augusta National’s most challenging. 

Scheffler wrapped up the weekend on Sunday, shooting a 71 to close out the tournament with a final score of 10-under through 72 holes, three strokes above second-place McIlroy. The 25-year-old won his first major tournament and green jacket after winning his first tour win a few months ago in the Waste Management Phoenix Open

Despite his slow start in the tournament and opening Sunday 10 strokes behind Scheffler, McIlroy posted his highest finish in 14 Masters appearances after shooting a 64 in the final round. 

Sunday marked the 25th anniversary of the final round of the 1997 Masters, where Woods won his first major tournament and green jacket by a staggering 12 strokes. This year, Woods walked off the 18th green wearing his famous black and red combo not as a champion but satisfied with his play over the weekend. The five-time champion wrapped up his first tournament in over a year-and-a-half by shooting a 78 on Saturday and a 78 on Sunday

Familiar faces from this year’s Masters Tournament will compete in the Zurich Classic later this month including Scheffler. The tournament will be held at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, Louisiana later this month and will also feature defending champions Smith and Marc Leishman, Colin Morikawa, Schauffele and Victor Hovland. 

The 87th Masters Tournament will occur April 6-9, 2023. 

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