15 Apr 2024

Scottie Scheffler storms to second US Masters crown

12:04 pm on 15 April 2024
Scottie Scheffler celebrates on the 18th green after winning the 2024 US Masters.

Scottie Scheffler celebrates on the 18th green after winning the 2024 US Masters. Photo: AFP

Unflappable American Scottie Scheffler has claimed a second Masters title in three years, the world number one holding steady while his biggest challengers self-destructed making their way through infamous Amen Corner.

Scheffler, the Green Jacket winner in 2022, began the day with a one-stroke lead over twice major winner Collin Morikawa and posted a final round of four-under 68 to finish 11-under for the week, four clear of Swedish young gun Ludvig Aberg.

Aberg closed with a 69 to take solo second spot and cap a sensational majors debut.

Morikawa, after tumbling down the leaderboard with double-bogeys at nine and 11, recovered with birdies at 13 and 15 to help secure a share of third place with American compatriot Max Homa and Britain's Tommy Fleetwood at four-under.

The red hot favourite coming into the year's first major, Scheffler leaves Augusta National as the planet's undisputed best with three titles and a runner-up finish in his last four starts.

The performance was all the more remarkable as Scheffler played with the added distraction of knowing he might have to at any moment return home to be with his wife for the birth of their first child.

It is said the Masters does not start until the back nine on Sunday, with many a Green Jacket won or lost with a trip through Amen Corner, the treacherous three-hole stretch that begins at the par four 11th.

The drama actually started a little earlier at the ninth this year where Scheffler had a tap in birdie, that he nearly holed out for an eagle, to lead by one heading into the turn.

All around Scheffler challengers were unravelling. Morikawa, who started the day one behind the leader, taking a double-bogey at nine to fall three shots off the pace.

As Scheffler was piling on the pressure with birdies at eight, nine and 10, Amen Corner bared its teeth to sink the hopes of three Green Jacket contenders - Aberg, Morikawa and Homa.

Aberg and Morikawa found water at 11, taking double-bogeys, while Homa suffered a double-bogey at the par three 12th after losing his ball in the bushes.

US PGA winner Collin Morikawa

US PGA winner Collin Morikawa Photo: Photosport

Even Scheffler could not escape Amen Corner unscathed with his run of three birdies ending with a bogey at 11.

But a birdie at 13 allowed Scheffler to walk away from Amen Corner at nine-under, holding a three-shot lead over Aberg with five to play.

Aberg, however, was not waving the white flag, undoing the damage done at the 11th with back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 to stay in sight of the leader on two back.

But Scheffler did not take his foot off the gas either, answering with a tap-in birdie at 14 and another at 16 to seal the victory.

Fox on the run

Earlier, New Zealand's Ryan Fox finished in a share of 38th after closing with a three-over 75.

Fox dropped 12 places on the final day, having lost tough with the leaders on a difficult third day after mounting a challenge over his opening two rounds.

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 11: Ryan Fox of New Zealand prepares for a shot with his caddie, Dean Smith, from the 12th tee during the first round of the 2024 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2024 in Augusta, Georgia.   Andrew Redington/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Andrew Redington / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Ryan Fox prepares for a shot with his caddie Dean Smith during the first round of the 2024 Masters Tournament. Photo: AFP / Getty Images

Fox climbed as high as fourth place early on day three but lost his rhythm and he also struggled for consistency over his final 18 holes.

As was the case all week, he started strongly, shooting an eagle on the par-five second hole and a birdie on the fourth.

However, bogeys at the ninth and 10th were followed by a double bogey on the par-three 16th.

Playing in his 19th major, Fox couldn't match his 26th finish at last year's Masters, the only other time he has contested the esteemed tournament.

- Reuters / RNZ

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