Won and 1! Scottie Scheffler wins Match Play and moves to World No. 1
This was annoying. Twice on Sunday afternoon, before he hit tee shots at Austin Country Club, Scottie Scheffler swatted away at some sort of insect. The first time, Scheffler’s caddie, Ted Scott, even waved a white towel at it.
Annoyance has been somewhat circling Scheffler of late. Earlier, it was the question of whether he’d ever win. Sunday, it was Scheffler’s opponent in the WGC-Match Play. Though, those were his words, not ours.
“Yeah, just trying to be really annoying,” Kevin Kisner said earlier the week. “When you’re really annoying, it can get under their skin. I don’t have the most firepower but never give a hole away is kind of my M.O., and that’s what I love about this golf course is I can chase the ball out there in the fairways and hole a few putts.”
With the bugs, Scheffler brushed them off, and he continued on. With the doubts and Kisner? Same. To keep the insect theme going, Scheffler is playing like a speeding semi, while everything and everyone else are just in the way.
The final against Kisner was a clinic. Scheffler won the second hole, never lost one and won 4 and 3. And those whispers of when he’d win almost seem like a joke now. Scheffler won his first PGA Tour tournament at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in early February. He then won again, two starts later, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. And then again on Sunday.
And on Monday, he’ll be the world’s top-ranked player.
“I really don’t know what to say,” Scheffler said on NBC after the victory. Then he laughed.
Against Kisner, after winning the second hole, Scheffler won the 4th on a 20-foot birdie putt, and he took a 3-up lead on the 6th. On the par-5 12th, he kept his advantage after following up one of his worst shots of the week with one of his best. From just off the green, Scheffler duffed his pitch into a greenside bunker — then holed the next shot for birdie.
Three holes later, he was the winner. He now heads to the Masters as not only the world’s highest-ranked player, but also its hottest.
“He’s playing fantastic,” Kisner said on NBC.
Augusta National would be wise to check Scheffler’s jacket measurements. Now.
— In the morning semifinals, Scottie Scheffler defeats Dustin Johnson 3 and 1, and Kevin Kisner defeats Corey Conners 2-up. In the finals, Scheffler will play Kisner, and in the consolation match, Johnson will play Corey Conners.
— On the 405-yard, par-4 1st, Scheffler and Kisner each birdie, Scheffler on an 8-foot putt, Kisner on a 3-footer. Score: All-square.
— On the 462-yard, par-4 2nd, Scheffler pars and wins. Kisner barely escapes a greenside bunker, can’t hole the next shot, and Scheffler takes a 1-up lead. Score: Scheffler 1-up.
— On the 423-par-4 3rd, Kisner and Scheffler par. Score: Scheffler 1-up.
— On the 177-yard, par-3 4th, Scheffler birdies on a 20-foot putt, Kisner pars and Scheffler takes a 2-up lead. Score: Scheffler 2-up.
— On the 372-yard, par-4 5th, Scheffler hits his tee shot into a greenside bunker, fails to get up and down and pars, while Kisner drives short of the green, pitches on and pulls his birdie putt. Score: Scheffler: 2-up.
— On the 595-yard, par-5 6th, Kisner just lands on the green with his second shot, and Scheffler hits to the left of it. From there, Kisner’s winding eagle putt comes up 12 feet short, Scheffler chips on and is given the putt, and Kisner can’t match the birdie. Scheffler goes 3-up. Score: Scheffler 3-up.
— On the 194-yard, par-3 7th, Scheffler hits to 12 feet with his tee shot, and Kisner misses the green. From there, Kisner chips on, Scheffler misses his birdie putt, and Kisner makes his par putt to halve the hole. Score: Scheffler 3-up.
— On the 475-yard, par-4 8th, Kisner hits just over the green with his second shot, and Scheffler hits to the center of the green. Each player two-putts. Score: Scheffler 3-up.
— On the 465-yard, par-4 9th, Scheffler hits his tee shot left, Kisner finishes in the fairway, and each two-putt. Score: Scheffler 3-up.
— On the 388-yard, par-4 10th, Scheffler and Kisner each hit the fairway, each hit the green in two, and each player two-putted. Score: Scheffler 3-up.
— On the 161-yard, par-3 11th, Scheffler hits to 16 feet, and Kisner hits just over the green. Kisner just misses the 48-footer, then Scheffler just misses. Score: Scheffler 3-up.
— On the 586-yard, par-5 12th, Scheffler hits right off the tee, Kisner hits into a fairway bunker, and they are short and right of the green after their second shots. From there, came the stunning. Kisner chips on, and Scheffler duffs one — only to hole out from a bunker. Kisner makes his birdie putt to halve the hole. Score: Scheffler 3-up.
— On the 290-yard, par-4 13th, Scheffler and Kisner avoid water off the tee. On the second shots, Kisner hits to the center of the green, Scheffler hits over, and he chips on. Kisner has a chance to win the hole on a 28-foot putt, but just misses, and Scheffler rolls in a short par putt to halve the hole. Score: Scheffler 3-up.
— On the 454-yard, par-4 14th, Kisner is short of the green on his second shot, and Scheffler hits to 15 feet. On the third shots, Kisner pitches just onto the green, misses the par putt and concedes the hole. Scheffler is 4 up. Score: Scheffler 4 up with four holes to play.
— On the 421-yard, par-4 15th, Kisner hits over the pin on his second shot, and Scheffler is a few feet closer. Kisner misses the birdie putt. Scheffler then just misses, and he wins 4 and 3 for his third PGA Tour title. With the win, Scheffler moves to world No. 1.
— In the consolation match, Conners defeats Johnson 3 and 1.
The final word
“I never made it that far in my dreams.” — Scheffler on NBC while talking about his rise to No. 1