Scottie Scheffler Wins Masters; Hideki Matsuyama Finishes 12 Shots Back

The 2021 Japanese champion had his second even-par round of the tournament, improving on a 5-over 77 in the third round.

Scottie Scheffler celebrates with his green jacket after winning the Masters as 2021 winner Hideki Matsuyama stands next to him and applauds in Augusta, Georgia, on April 10. (Brian Snyder/REUTERS)

Scottie Scheffler lived up to top billing on the final day of the Masters, winning the title by three strokes over Rory McIlroy on Sunday, April 10.

The world No. 1 shot his fourth consecutive under-par round and his second consecutive 1-under 71 to complete the year’s first major at 10-under 278.

McIlroy had his best-ever finish (and tied the final-round record) at the Masters, carding a 7-under 64 on Sunday to climb into second place at 271. Hideki Matsuyama, the 2021 Masters champion, shot a 72 in the fourth round to complete the tournament at 2-over 290. Shane Lowry and Cameron Smith finished tied for third at 283.

Tiger Woods shot his second consecutive 78 and ended the weekend 23 shots adrift.

Matsuyama trailed Scheffler by 11 strokes entering the final round. A Matsuyama victory would have represented the greatest final-day comeback in tournament history, surpassing Jack Burke Jr.’s eight-stroke rally in 1956.

For Matsuyama, the first nine on Sunday was a snapshot of his up-and-down performance at Augusta National Golf Course. He bogeyed the second, third, sixth and ninth holes. He notched birdies on the par-3 fourth and par-4 fifth and seventh holes, reaching the back nine at 1-over 37.

Matsuyama’s round-by-round tournament scores: 72, 69, 77 and 72.

Scheffler, a 25-year-old American, owned a five-stroke advantage at the tourney’s midway point. He then held a three-stroke lead over Cameron Smith after the third round was at 2-under 34 at the midway point on Sunday. He closed with a double bogey on the 18th hole, an anticlimactic finish, but ended the day on top.

Scheffler played collegiately at the University of Texas (2014-18) before turning pro. He earned his fourth PGA Tour title on Sunday, an accomplishment that will take some time to process mentally.

“I don't think anything has sunk in at the moment,” Scheffler told reporters in his post-tournament news conference. “My head is still kind of spinning. I was so focused for so long this week. Major championship golf is brutal and especially around a golf course like this and the conditions we played it in; you can see the scores, this golf course was not playing easy this week.”

Scheffler added: “It was such a mental grind and you know winning this golf tournament, I'm so humbled to be here. I was just ― I'm just glad to be a part of the field. I'm glad to be able to come out here and have a chance to compete. To be able to win this tournament, I can't say enough about it.”

Scheffler’s previous best result in a major was at the 2020 PGA Championship (tied for fourth). He won the Phoenix Open in February on the third-playoff hole, followed by victories in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in March.

Woods, a five-time Masters champion, paid tribute to the 2022 champ later in the day.

“I didn’t play my best out there, but just to have the support and appreciation from all the fans, I don’t think words can describe that,” he tweeted. “Congratulations to Scottie Scheffler on an outstanding win. It’s been a special run.”

For Matsuyama, his overall performance at the Masters was disappointing.

"I wasn't able to play my game but I'm glad I was able to play all four days," Matsuyama was quoted as saying by Kyodo News. "I tried hard [to put myself in contention] but I couldn't sink my putts from the start and it was tough.

"I haven't been able to play decent golf for about a month. It was more difficult mentally than physically. I'm going to rest until I'm ready to play golf again."

Author: Ed Odeven

Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward's [Japan Sports Notebook] here on Sundays, in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven.

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