Scottie Scheffler moves back to the top of golf’s world rankings as he romps to a five-shot victory at the Players Championship… scooping huge $4.5million prize in the process
- Scottie Scheffler is back as world No. 1 as next month’s Masters fast approaches
- He won the Players Championship by five shots at TPC Sawgrass on Sunday
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If there are weaknesses in the game of Scottie Scheffler they are fast becoming impossible to spot and every bit as difficult for his closest rivals to exploit.
With his five-stroke victory at the Players Championship on Sunday night, he not only blitzed what is traditionally the strongest field in golf, but he also returned to world No. 1 in his ongoing game of thrones with Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy.
It remains to be seen how that translates to his defense of the Masters title next month, but a sixth win in 13 months, to sit with nine other top-10s in that span, will make him joint-favorite at Augusta alongside Rahm, and marginally ahead of McIlroy, who missed the cut here and has issues to address with his driver.
At Sawgrass, and amid its fickle quirks, no one got within the same zip code as the American, who closed with a 69 for a total of 17 under par, though it was pleasing for UK interests that the next best was Tyrrell Hatton.
Outward displays of joy are often conspicuous by their absence in the Englishman’s labors, but even he cracked a broad smile during after a record-breaking back nine of 29 strokes.
Scottie Scheffler celebrates on the 18th green after securing his five-shot Players victory
Scheffler not only earned the $4.5million first prize, but also moved back to world No. 1
That amounted to a round 65 and a payday of $2.8million, as well as further momentum towards Augusta after two other top-six finishes in his previous three PGA Tour starts.
‘It was just a pretty mad two and a half hours in the end,’ said Hatton. ‘I’m really happy with how it’s played out. It sounds horrible to say something positive, I guess, but it’s one of my favourite golf courses.’
For the better part of two hours the 31-year-old had held the clubhouse lead, though it never had any prospect of longevity in light of what Scheffler was doing out on the course.
He had commenced two strokes clear and despite picking up bogeys at three and 14, his stretch of five birdies from the eighth during the windiest part of the day made this win a procession.
Tyrrell Hatton had an impressive Sunday to finish -7 for the day and -12 overall, in second place
Min Woo Lee suffered an awful final day, shooting four-over-par and dropping to T6 overall
Scheffler, whose words tend to make less impact than his shots, said: ‘I played really well the whole week. I had times when I didn’t think I was playing my best but I got hot in spurts in each of my rounds. I chose my moments and it was just solid.’
The recent resurgence of Justin Rose continued with a tie for sixth. Tommy Fleetwood, who started the day in fourth on nine under, wilted with a 76.
Norway’s Viktor Hovland (68) and American Tom Hoge (70), who carded the Players Championship record low round of 10-under 62 on Saturday, finished in a tie for third seven shots behind at 10-under 278.
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