World No1 Scottie Scheffler fends off chasing pack for second Masters title

World No1 Scottie Scheffler fends off chasing pack for second Masters title

Masters favourite Scottie Scheffler lived up to his pre-tournament billing for a dominant victory at Augusta on Sunday night.

The 2022 champion carded a final-round 68 to don the Green Jacket for a second time as the challenges of his rivals dissipated.

Ludvig Aberg, playing the first major of his career, showed remarkable maturity to finish with a 69 and leave him second four shots behind the world No1.

But Scheffler, despite being closely matched by his rivals earlier in the round – for a time there was a four-way tie for the lead on the final day, steadily pulled away on the back nine.

The 27-year-old, whose wife Meredith is due to give birth to their first child at the end of the month, had said he was willing to forego his Masters challenge were she to go into labour early.

And he was quick to pay tribute to her in the immediate aftermath of a victory which cements his status as overwhelmingly the world’s best player currently. He had already won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship in the lead-up to Augusta.

“I can’t put into words what it is like to win here again and what it will be like to become a father for the first time,” he said before addressing his wife directly. “I love you and I’m coming home. I’ll be home as quick as I can.”

Tommy Fleetwood had a good final day, too, carding a 69 to give him a share of third with Collin Morikawa and Max Homa, and his best finish at an event where he has habitually struggled to find his best form.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

But Rory McIlroy failed to ignite on the final day with a round of 73 to put him four-over par, while Tiger Woods finished last of the 60 players to have survived the cut on 16-over after his 77.

Scheffler had barely put a foot wrong on the opening two days before occasional struggles on the Saturday. Despite that, he led at the start of the final day but a bogey on the seventh saw his challenge pegged back with Aberg, Morikawa and Homa suggesting a thrilling fight for the Green Jacket with a share of the lead.

But a trio of birdies from the eighth saw him pull clear as his chasers either found the water or out of bounds in a quick change of fortunes.

It gave Scheffler all the breathing space he needed and three further birdies on the back nine ensured a comfortable victory.

Following his share of third, meanwhile, Fleetwood said: “I guess I needed a few more fireworks but the golf course wasn’t giving much away. Who knows if my time will ever come but all I can do is keep trying to put myself there and having performances like that.”