Schaeffler a Masters Champion and never saw it coming

Augusta, Ga. (AP) — Scotty Scheffler wanted to be a professional golfer for so long, he wore trousers to lessons at the Royal Oaks in Dallas and even at junior tournaments, no matter how cold the Texas heat Don’t be

He had never imagined what he would look like in a green jacket.

Winning the Masters is any junior golfer’s dream, especially in Texas with a legacy of their own, from Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan to Ben Crenshaw and Charles Cuddy to more recently Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.

Scheffler was no ordinary kid, and he hasn’t changed much.

“I’ve never been someone who likes to look too far into the future,” Scheffler said Sunday evening, still trying to understand the magnitude of his three-shot victory at Augusta National.

Tiger Woods spoke over the weekend of the window of time when a player heats up, whether it was Fred Couples in 1992 or Woods on more occasions than he can remember. The hope window includes a major on the calendar, and Scheffler’s run came at an ideal time.

He won the Phoenix Open at Bay Hill and match play in a span of seven weeks. The last sent them to No. 1 in the world, and the next stop was Augusta.

But as he sat in the butler’s cabin, waiting to slip on the green jacket for the first time, he was asked when he had first dreamed of such an opportunity.

“Perhaps it first came to my mind, on a Friday afternoon, after we were done,” Scheffler replied.

“Really?” response came.

Yes true. Schaeffler has only talked about wanting the chance to compete for the past two months. That was the dream. What made him cry was his first invitation in the mail when he qualified for his first Masters, which was moved to November in 2020.

Winning the Masters? Only after taking a five-shot lead after the second round, and maintaining a three-shot lead to go into the final day.

Schaeffler is all about the competition. It hasn’t changed.

Randy Smith can spin yarn about watching Scheffler, age 10, sitting on the range at Royal Oaks as he watched and listened to shaped shots and talk of Tour pros. And then he’d challenge them over short-game competitions or putting greens, and if he wasn’t taking money from them, he was putting a dent in their ego.

“He was a gamer,” said Will Zalatoris, who grew up with Scheffler in the Dallas area. “He wore pants to every tournament, even if it was 110 degrees. He tried to become a professional at a young age, and obviously it’s great for me to see what he is doing now. ,

That little game was a big part of his Masters win. The final margin was closer than it actually was. Schaeffler had a five-shot lead and finally took off his blinds to soak up the atmosphere, and then an absent-minded four-putt for a double bogey. He scored 71 runs instead of 69. They won by three instead of five. Those are just numbers in the record book.

Cameron Smith made a quick run with a birdie on the opening two holes to cut the lead by a shot, and Scheffler responded with perhaps the most important shot of the final round. 3 on a steep slope his chip hit the pin and dropped for a birdie, and Smith’s bogey made it a two-shot swing.

The top and bottom from behind the first green were overlooked – one of the worst places to happen in Augusta, especially for someone trying to win their first major – and the pitch was long and paralyzed. -3 left on the fourth.

“If I were to pick one part of my game that excelled most, I’d say it was probably my lob wedge,” Scheffler said. “Even today, I saw some good ups and downs at the start of the round and then positioned myself.”

They didn’t get quarters for some of their big puts, only pars, and they were worth a lot.

After starting the back nine with a careless bogey off the fairway, Scheffler missed the 11th green to the right and pitched 7 feet. Smith made a birdie, and Scheffler rolled into his equal put to maintain the lead on three shots.

It was like that all day – all week, in fact.

Before long, all that was left was a walk down the 18th fairway, a trip to the butler’s cabin, a green jacket. It’s the stuff of dreams, even though they were never his.

1 by some margin, and no one can doubt that he earned the ranking with the quality of his victories – a World Golf Championship, a major, a variety of courses and trials.

Justin Thomas said, “You land on those hot streaks, and you just have to get them out because they unfortunately don’t last forever.” “But he is doing it in the biggest tournament. It’s not like he’s going and winning at smaller events or the Bahamas where it’s 20 people. He is winning the WGC. He is now winning a major.

“It’s really impressive, to see someone who is young so easily handles a moment.”

what next?

“I want to go home,” said Scheffler with his distinctive laugh. “I’m just so tired.”

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