The Washington Post
Scheffler wins Players, is on top of the world
Scottie Scheffler took on scary TPC Sawgrass as though he was playing alone. And by the time he finished a masterful performance Sunday at the Players Championship, that’s about how it looked.
Scheffler ran off five straight birdies in the middle of his round, built a six-shot lead and left the drama to everyone else on his way to a 3-under-par 69 to win the richest prize on the PGA Tour by five shots.
The victory in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., was worth $4.5 million and boosted Scheffler back to No. 1 in the world for the second time this year. He has six wins in his past 27 starts on the tour, including four wins last year culminated by his Masters title.
When he poured in a 20-foot par putt on the final hole, Scheffler had the largest margin of victory at the Players since Stephen Ames won by six in 2006.
“I got hot in the middle of the round and tried to put things away as quickly as I can,” Scheffler said. “Gosh, it’s fun.”
And then the celebration was on with his wife, parents, sister and 87-year-old grandmother, who kept pace with him for much of the day. That’s something the strongest field of the year couldn’t do.
Tyrrell Hatton birdied his last five holes for a 65, finishing when Scheffler was making the turn. Viktor Hovland (68) and Tom Hoge (70) were seven shots behind in a tie for third, each claiming nearly $1.5 million from the $25 million purse. Scheffler, who finished at 17-under 271, became only the third player to win at TPC Sawgrass with all four rounds in the 60s.
Min Woo Lee of Australia, making his Players Championship debut, briefly was tied for the lead but finished with a 76.
Lee made one too many blunders. One of them came on the par-4 fourth, when Lee was tied for the lead. He chipped out of the rough only to have his third shot spin back into the water, leading to a triple bogey.
By the time he recovered, Scheffler was racing away.
It started when Scheffler chipped in from the collar of a bunker on the par-3 eighth, and he closed out the front nine with an aggressive play on the par-5 ninth that set up a chip-and-putt birdie.
Hatton teed off two hours ahead of Scheffler, and he capped off his closing run of five straight birdies as Scheffler headed for the back nine. Hatton, the first player to shoot 29 on the back nine at TPC Sawgrass on a Sunday, finished at 12-under 276.
The wind was gusting close to 30 mph, which only adds to the trouble on this course. Scheffler stayed aggressive, holing an 18-foot birdie on the 10th, twoputting from 70 feet on the par-5 11th and taking on the reachable par-4 12th with a 3-wood to pin high just right of the green. That set up his fifth straight birdie and a six-shot lead.
For the final two hours, it was a money grab for everyone else — and some wasted cash for those who fell victim to the wind and water and the cruel Players Stadium Course.
Hatton, who started the final round nine shots behind, finished off his five straight birdies with a 4-iron out of the pine straw and around the trees to 20 feet.
He won $2.7 million — just over $1 million more than from his Bay Hill victory in 2020.
Hideki Matsuyama was within one shot — this was before Scheffler went on his birdie run — only to take a double bogey on the 14th, fail to birdie the par-5 16th and bogey the 18th. He was 7 under for the round through 13 holes and had to settle for a 68.
Ultimately, though, this was a one-man show.
“He’s in a good position to be able to continue to do this a while,” Jordan Spieth said of Scheffler.
• DP WORLD TOUR: Jorge Campillo won the Kenya Open by two shots with a 5-under 66.
The Spaniard put together six birdies and dropped just one shot in the final round at Nairobi’s Muthaiga Golf Club to reach 18 under and stay ahead of Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura.
Campillo claimed his third tour title and first since the 2020 Qatar Masters.
“I will try to enjoy my moment now and get ready for the next tournament,” Campillo said, “because you know how golf is. You win now, and then the next day you are not that good anymore.”