Scheffler romps to Players Championship win, reclaims top ranking

March 13, 2023 11:27 am

[Source: Reuters]

Scottie Scheffler ran away with the Players Championship title and along with it took the number one world ranking and the PGA Tour’s richest purse of $4.5 million.

It was another clinical effort from the unflappable American, who carded a final round three-under 69 on a gusty afternoon in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida for a commanding five-shot win over Briton Tyrrell Hatton, who closed with a 65.

A winning total of 17-under 271 brought Scheffler his sixth career title and second in his last four starts as the Masters champion signalled he is well prepared for next month’s Green Jacket defence.

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Scheffler, who needed to finish in a tie for fifth or better to reclaim the number one spot from Jon Rahm, started the day two clear at the top of the leaderboard and got his round off to a slow start by going one-over through seven.

But the 26-year-old stepped on the gas through the turn by carding five consecutive birdies from the eighth to pull away from the field, opening up a six-shot advantage on Hatton, who was bidding to become the first Englishman to win golf’s unofficial fifth major.’

Scheffler took his second bogey of the day at the 14th but steered clear of trouble the rest of the way home, including at the TPC Sawgrass’s infamous par-three 17th island green.

Like Scheffler, Hatton could not get much going on his first nine and reached the turn at even par.

But the Englishman caught fire after that and carded seven birdies, including five straight, to bring his round to a spectacular end.

Norway’s Viktor Hovland (68) and American Tom Hoge (70), who carded the Players Championship record low round of 10-under 62 on Saturday, finished in a tie for third seven shots behind at 10-under 278.

Min Woo Lee, two back of Scheffler overnight, immediately went to work rolling in a five-footer for birdie at the first to cut the American’s advantage to one.

Scheffler’s first bogey at the third moved Lee into a share of the lead but the Australian’s stay at the top would be brief. He crashed down the leaderboard after taking a triple bogey seven at the par-four fourth.

Lee’s troubles began off the tee when he punched out of the rough to set up what looked like a routine third shot into the green.

But the ball span back into the water, leaving Lee to walk off with seven and hand Scheffler a three-shot lead.

Lee was in big trouble again at the 11th, taking a double bogey on the way to four-over 76 and ended at nine off the lead.