Scheffler, the big favorite, dominates to win the Masters

Scheffler, the big favorite, dominates to win the Masters

Since Tiger Woods dominated golf in the 2000s, no one had arrived at Augusta as a strong favorite as Scheffler.

He entered the first major of the year on the strength of two victories in his previous three tournaments – at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship – and a second-place finish at the Houston Open.

That imperious form, combined with his pedigree as a former Masters champion, meant his odds were as short as 4-1 at the start of the week.

Scheffler justified this label.

Although he didn’t reach the same heights in the first three days, particularly during a turbulent round on Saturday where he recovered from several errors, he still led by a stretch heading into Sunday.

Scheffler lacked distance control with his irons in the early holes, but stayed in the lead thanks to his work with his wedges and putter.

However, a bogey at the seventh dropped him back alongside Morikawa and Aberg, before Homa joined them in a four-way tie for the lead after a birdie at the eighth.

But Scheffler – playing alongside Morikawa in the group behind Aberg and Homa – birdied the same hole to lead again with seven under.

Then came a magical moment that looked like a potential turning point – and turned out to be such.

Scheffler almost made a magnificent 89-yard approach at the ninth, demonstrating sublime skill in spinning the ball and using the Augusta contours to roll it toward the pin – leaving himself with a simple tap-in for back-to-back birdies .

This once again put the spotlight between Scheffler and his rivals.

Scheffler added a third straight birdie at the 10th but as the leaders approached Amen Corner – the famous section of the course comprising the 11th, 12th and 13th holes – it was still too close to decide.

However, by the time he teeed off on the 12th, it was his tournament to lose.

His three closest rivals – Aberg, Morikawa and Homa – made costly double bogeys in the space of about 15 minutes, giving Scheffler a three-shot lead even though he made a bogey at the 11th.

Aberg and Morikawa both made their approach on the 11th into the water, while a poor bounce by Homa on the iconic par-three 12th left him in the bushes and taking a single stroke penalty.

From that point on, Scheffler was able to fully concentrate on his game and evolved in his game as the final round progressed.

Further birdies at 13, 14 and 16 all but assured victory and while a dramatic exit to be with his wife was not necessary, his rivals could have welcomed what would have been a sensational twist.

More soon.


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