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Scottie Scheffler Produces Sublime Comeback to Retain PLAYERS Championship

Scottie Scheffler Produces Sublime Comeback to Retain PLAYERS Championship
(Debby Wong/ZUMA Press Wire/Alamy)

Scottie Scheffler came back from a five-shot deficit in the final round to hold off Xander Schauffele, Brain Harman, and Wyndham Clark to retain THE PLAYERS Championship.

The 27-year-old American and world no. 1, who was struggling with a neck injury during round 2 and had to receive treatment, carded an eight-under 64 which included an eagle and eight birdies in an entertaining final round to finish the tournament on 20 under and defend his title at the 50th staging of the event at TPC Sawgrass.

Xander Schauffele, Brain Harman, and Wyndham Clark, who had previously been teammates with Scottie Scheffler at the last Ryder Cup, had the opportunity to match Scheffler’s total however they were unable to find a final-hole birdie to force a play-off.

“When I went to bed last night, it’s not exactly how I envisioned walking off the 18th green,” said Schauffele.

“This sucks but I’ll lick my wounds and right back to it next week.”

Scheffler’s victory marks him as the first player to retain his title at THE PLAYERS.

“That’s pretty special – it’s something you don’t get to do very often,” Scheffler said. “It’s tough enough to win one Players, so to have it back to back is extremely special and I’m really thankful.

“I was hoping to be in this position. I put up a good fight for four days – that’s really all it was. I got off to a slow start today, but the hole-out on four kind of propelled us a little bit. I hit a lot of good shots today, did a lot of good things, and it’s nice to come out on top.”

Matt Fitzpatrick sealed his best result of the season so far thanks to final-round 64 which helped propel the Englishman to fourth while South Korea’s Si Woo Kim and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama shared sixth on 15 under.

2019 winner Rory McIlroy showed promise in the early stages of the tournament but faded, to finish 11 shots off the lead in tied-19th on 9 under.

“After the first round, my expectations sort of went sky high because I was like, ‘oh, I think I’ve figured it out’,” said the Northern Irishman.

“Then the last three days were a little bit more of a struggle. I made enough birdies – it’s just a matter of getting rid of the bad stuff.”

The next event on the PGA TOUR schedule is the Valspar Championship taking place between 21-24 March at Copperhead Course in Florida.