World number 1 Scottie Scheffler wins the 2022 Masters

Scottie Scheffler wins The Masters after Cameron Smith’s hopes ended after his ball found the water at Amen Corner.

Just 42 days after winning his first-ever PGA Tour event, American Scottie Scheffler has risen to the top of the world golf rankings and claimed his first-ever major championship with a three-stroke win at Augusta National.

Scheffler shrugged off early nerves and an early charge from Cameron Smith to maintain a three-stroke lead for much of the day. Birdies at 14 and 15 extended the lead to five strokes for an emphatic victory and cement his place as the world’s best golfer.

“I really don’t know what to say. It was definitely nice to build up a lead. Nothing is safe out there on the back nine on this golf course,” Scheffler said.

“I’ve heard all the things that everybody says, it doesn’t start till the back nine on Sunday, anything can happen, don’t hit in the water on 12, all the stuff. You know, I just blocked most of that out and tried to execute and hit good golf shots.”

Australian hopes were pinned on Cameron Smith who has already shown his class under pressure to win the lucrative PLAYERS Championship last month.

Starting the day three strokes behind, Smith made a dream start by making birdies at the opening two holes to draw within one shot of Scheffler.

Scheffler and Smith each faced difficult pitch shots from the same position at the par-4 3rd hole. However, the world number wasn’t troubled at all by the awkward mounds and proceeded to chip the ball in the hole. When Smith couldn’t get up and down, the lead was suddenly back to three shots.

Like almost every Sunday at The Masters, the primary drama was to come at Amen Corner – this time it was further Augusta heartbreak for Australian golf fans.

A birdie at the difficult par-4 11th hole to Smith meant hopes were high of a comeback as the mullet-haired Queenslander made his way to the 12th.

Smith hit a poor, fat 9-iron which was never going to carry Rae’s Creek. Normally possessing a world-class short game under pressure, Smith’s touch left him and a triple-bogey 6 all but ruined his hopes of securing a green jacket.

“Just a really bad swing at the wrong time. It was actually a really good number,” Smith said afterwards. “It was a really nice 9-iron. Wasn’t even trying to go near that pin, and, yeah, just a really poor swing.”

Smith eventually finished in a tie for 3rd place thanks to birdies at the 15th and 16th holes. the result was Smith’s fourth top-10 finish at Augusta National in six starts.

“I feel like I’ve played some of my best golf around here,” Smith added. “It’s quite frustrating, I guess, to not walk away with a win yet, but at the same token, I look forward to the challenge of coming back here next year and trying to do it again.”

Rory McIlroy made a late Sunday charge to add some extra spice to the day. McIlroy’s spectacular hole-out from the bunker on the 18th meant he carded an 8-under 64, the equal lowest ever final round at The Masters.

It wasn’t enough to put any pressure on Scheffler who strode up the 18th fairway with a five-stroke lead. Four putts on the final green were nothing but a blip on what was otherwise an extraordinary display of golf.

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