Scottie Scheffler masterclass delivers second Green Jacket

Scottie Scheffler - The Masters
Scottie Scheffler - The Masters / Warren Little/GettyImages

Augusta, Georgia - Sitting in Butler Cabin alongside ESPN's Scott Van Pelt, the 2024 Masters' opening-round leader, Bryson DeChambeau, spoke about having patience and how he's matured as a golfer.

After firing a stellar 7 under-par 65 on Thursday, Bryson shot a very respectable 73 in tough conditions Friday and was pleased with his second-round play; even though 1-over could've easily been 1-under had his putter cooperated.

Perhaps feeling it was time to take a risk on the par-5 15th hole during Saturday's third round, Bryson decided to go for the green in two (with his second); ripping a high-draw with a low-iron from the left side of the fairway that carried the water (short of the putting-surface) but didn’t draw enough before coming to-rest well right of the green and his intended target.

While the chunk, de-cel that found the water on his next (third) shot from roughly 55 yards was the play that cost him the most, Bryson's decision to clear the water with his second didn’t do him much good in the sense that he was nearly jailed for his third and walked away with a dub-step (double-bogey 7). Like Bryson, Sweden's Ludvig Aberg and USA's Collin Morikawa played brilliantly for most of the tournament; coming undone thanks to seemingly minor mental mistakes at crucial junctures during the weekend.

With 4 feet left for his birdie on the par-5 8th hole, Collin Morikawa knew he was in good shape during Sunday’s final round; level par through 7 and atop the Masters leaderboard alongside playing partner Scottie Scheffler at 6 under par.

Scottie Scheffler held the lead going into the final round

Scheffler, who had the 54-hole lead at 7 under, was also a shot clear of Morikawa entering their final-round pairing; a slight advantage that was gone after 2 bogeys to just 1 birdie knotted the 27-year-old Americans at 6 under through 61 holes. Standing over his 9-foot birdie-putt on 8, the 6-foot 3-inch Texan was fully aware of the situation at hand; a miss followed by a make from Morikawa would be hugely disappointing and a major lift for his opponent.

While the strokes-gained putting metric may tell us Scheffler struggles on the greens, big putts like his birdie effort on 8 reveal the truth about the world number 1’s flat-stick and how he’s clutch with it.

Sensing the strength of Scheffler once he drilled that gusty 9-footer and stuffed his second shot on 9 to a few inches from the cup, Morikawa bit off more than he could chew with his third shot on 9 from the left green-side bunker; getting too cute with it and leaving it in the (same) bunker before carding a devastating double-bogey 6 and losing 3-shots to Scottie.

Patience and course-management are critical for any golfer; especially the guys in contention at the Masters; during a tough, windy week with (firm & fast) greens rolling at a 13 or 14 on the Stimpmeter.

After not taking his medicine on the 9th, Morikawa mismanaged his game yet again merely two holes later; officially playing his way out of contention by yanking his 220-yard approach into the pond left of the 11th green.

Even though Morikawa doubled the 9th and was trailing the leader (Scottie) by four with 8 holes to play, he was still in the tournament; not to mention the 11th at Augusta National is a terrible spot to be aggressive (with your second) from 185 yards let alone 220. After watching Collin rinse his approach on 11, Scottie made the prudent decision; bailing out to the right of the putting surface from about 190 and eventually walking away with a smart 5 as Morikawa sealed his fate with another needless double-bogey 6.

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Coming off of 3 straight birdies (8, 9, & 10) and in the fairway on 11, it would’ve been awfully tempting for Scottie to knock his second to 15 feet right of the dangerous, left hole location; a bold line that he of all players could’ve taken successfully but didn’t because he’s the best of the best. In other words, Scottie just plain old “gets it”.