The Players: Scottie Scheffler to return to world No 1 after dominant five-shot win at TPC Sawgrass | Golf News
Scottie Scheffler earns $4.5million and replaces Jon Rahm as world No 1 after victory at The Players; Tyrrell Hatton secures second after brilliant finish at TPC Sawgrass, with Viktor Hovland tied-third alongside Tom Hoge
By Ali Stafford at TPC Sawgrass
Last Updated: 12/03/23 10:55pm
Scottie Scheffler secured a sixth PGA Tour title in 13 months and moved back top of the world rankings with a dominant five-shot victory at The Players.
Scheffler took a two-shot lead into the final day of the PGA Tour’s flagship event and never left top spot during an entertaining Sunday at TPC Sawgrass, with five consecutive birdies around the turn seeing him pull clear of the chasing pack.
The American – who only needed a top-five finish to reclaim world No 1 from Jon Rahm – carded a final-round 69 to end the week on 17 under and secure the $4.5million jackpot, with Scheffler comfortably ahead of nearest challenger Tyrrell Hatton.
Hatton closed a sensational back-nine 29 with five consecutive birdies to finish on 12 under, while Ryder Cup team-mate Viktor Hovland ended the week a further two strokes back in tied-third with Tom Hoge and ahead of Hideki Matsuyama in fifth.
Scheffler the superstar at Sawgrass
Min Woo Lee – playing in the final group – immediately reduced the overnight advantage with a six-foot birdie at the first and then benefited from a drop near a sprinkler head in the rough to scramble a par at the next, where Scheffler also made a five after being unable to replicate the chip-in from the rough the previous day.
Scheffler slipped back into a share of the lead when he missed from five feet to save par at the third, where his playing partner got up and down to save par, although jumped three clear when Lee had to pitch out of thick rough and then found water at the fourth on his way to a triple-bogey seven.
Lee scramble par on his next two holes and drained a 30-foot birdie at the seventh to briefly get back within two, only for the Australian to bogey the next and found himself four behind when Scheffler chipped in from off the eighth green.
Hatton reached the turn level-par but followed a 20-foot birdie at the 10th by converting from six feet at the driveable 12th, with the Englishman then responding to a missed chance from 10 feet at the next by birdieing each of the final five holes to equal the lowest back-nine total in tournament history.
A 10-foot birdie at the last saw Hatton move to 12 under and temporarily within two of Scheffler, only for the Masters champion to take advantage of the par-five ninth and convert from 18 feet at the next to jump four clear of the field.
The Players Championship
March 13, 2023, 7:00pm
Scheffler two-putted from 70 feet to continue his run at the par-five 11th and holed from close range at the driveable next to make it five consecutive birdies, taking him six ahead, although had to settle for bogey at the 14th after pitching out from behind a bush.
Two-putt pars over the next three holes kept Scheffler in total control of the tournament heading to the par-four last, where he pitched out after a wayward drive hit a spectator before nailing a 20-foot par-save putt to seal an impressive victory in style.
“I did a really good job of staying patient, trying not to force things,” Scheffler said. “I got hot in the middle of the round and tried to put things away as early as I could. I am just trying to improve, not overthink things. I am seeing results and wins and am very thankful.”
Hovland threatened a charge for victory when he made four birdies in a five-hole stretch from the ninth, only to par his final five holes and remain on 10 under, while Hoge – who broke the course record on Saturday with a 10-under 62 – also had to settle for tied-third after a final-hole bogey.
Matsuyama also bogeyed the final hole to card a four-under 68, while Lee carded a four-over 76 on an eventful final day to end the week in the large group tied-sixth that also contained Justin Rose and Max Homa.
The PGA Tour stays in Florida next for the Valspar Championship at the Innisbrook Golf Resort, with early coverage live on Thursday from 11.30am on Sky Sports Golf.
Scheffler’s next two starts will see him attempt to defend titles, starting with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas from March 22-26 before The Masters takes place at Augusta National from April 6-9.
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