Mendoza: Why Scheffler is Masters champ again

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Al Mendoza.
Al Mendoza.Al Mendoza.

Scottie Scheffler, the stone-faced Texan, won the Masters on Monday (April 15, Philippine time), rather running away.

The leader with 18 holes to go, Scheffler’s slender one-shot lead was gone but not after a searing seven-hole struggle by Americans Collin Morikawa and Max Homa, and Ludvig Aberg, the 24-year-old rookie from Sweden.

The three crowded Scheffler for the lead and looked all set to collaborate for drama coming home in the 88th edition of the year’s first of four majors.

But famous for his steely nerves, Scheffler stunningly shot back before hitting the turn at the revered Augusta National in Georgia, USA.

He birdied 8 and 9 to regain his one-shot lead going out.

Scheffler didn’t stop there. He birdied 10, his 3-birdie streak somewhat triggering a tsunami-like upheaval that shook the very foundations of the chasing pack.

Morikawa double-bogeyed 9 and, rattled irrevocably, double-bogeyed again when he splashed into the water on 11. Shockingly, he was 5 shots behind Scheffler going 12.

Misery loves company, right?

Aberg, who turned pro only in June 2023, also got wet on 11 for double bogey after a pulled tee shot.

Then Homa joined the double-bogey club when his tee shot on the par-3 12th found bush at the back of the green.

Meanwhile, quietly, as is his usual calm demeanor, Scheffler parred the killer 12th to erect a commanding 3-shot lead over the seemingly disoriented-by-now trio.

But, no, wait. Aberg breathed stirrings of life, burying back-to-back birdies on 13 and 14.

That wasn’t enough, though, to overtake—even tie—Scheffler.

Scheffler answered with another birdie on the par-3 16th—his sixth for the day and 20th for the week—to lead by four that he coolly kept up to the 18th for a rather walk-in-the-park, four-shot win over Aberg.

Scheffler finished with a 4-under 68 for an 11-under total worth $3.6 million from the total record purse of $20 million—his second Masters win in three years.

Aberg’s final-round 69 was second at 7-under aggregate.

Homa (73) and Morikawa (74) were tied for third with Britain’s Tommy Fleetwood (69) at 4-under totals.

And the five-time champion Tiger Woods?

Weighed down by a worst-ever Masters score of 82 in Round 3, he wound up 60th among the 60 who made the cut (89 starters). But that’s another story.


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