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Scheffler wins Masters as Smith fades, Aussie Lee woos crowd with record surge

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10th April, 2022
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Scottie Scheffler has claimed the coveted Masters green jacket after securing his maiden major championship at Augusta National.

The world No.1 closed out a three-shot victory with a final round of one-under 71 to finish at 10-under 278, well clear of Rory McIlroy who carded a sizzling eight-under 64 to grab second.

Cameron Smith’s hopes of becoming just the second Australian to win the Masters were sunk with a triple-bogey on the par-3 12th, on his way to a one-over 73 and a share of third with Shane Lowry (69) at five under.

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Smith suffered two cruel breaks as he chased glory on the final day.

After slashing Scheffler’s overnight lead to just one stroke with two superb birdies to open the final round, Smith’s Masters dream began to slip away in an extraordinary twist on the third hole.

After driving into the trees left, Scheffler was given relief from an interfering scoreboard, his second favourable drop in four holes after escaping with a miracle bogey up the last on Saturday.

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Scheffler left his ensuing pitch shot short and watched his ball tumble back down the hill.

Staring a bogey in the face as Smith threatened to seize the lead, the Texan instead chipped in for a most improbable birdie.

After also leaving his approach short, Smith was unable to save par from the same position as Scheffler’s hole-out, suddenly leaving the Queenslander three shots behind again.

He never recovered.

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Another bogey on the par-3 fourth hole, after taking an aggressive line off the tee and finding the bunker, had Smith trailing by four shots.

Both players birdied the seventh as Scheffler moved to 11 under and assumed control.

Runner-up to Dustin Johnson in the rescheduled November Masters in 2020, Smith seemed set for at least another second after making a brilliant birdie on the par-4 11th, one of Augusta’s most demanding holes.

Instead the 28-year-old’s tee shot into the water and racked up a heartbreaking triple-bogey six on the 12th hole as Amen Corner claimed yet another victim.

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Smith rebounded gamely with successive birdies on 15 and 16 to secure a third top-five finish at the season’s first and most magical major. 

Australian golf sensation Min Woo Lee lit up Augusta National with a record-setting Masters debut.

Lee briefly stormed to outright fourth on the leaderboard after equalling the lowest-ever front nine with a staggering six-under-par 30 on the sport’s most famous course.

The 23-year-old eagled the par-5 second hole, then reeled off four straight birdies to surge to two under and within seven shots of third-round leader and world No.1 Scottie Scheffler.

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However, Lee’s challenge faltered with four bogeys in a row to start the back nine before another birdie on the 16th left him in a tie for 14th position at two over in a hugely impressive maiden Masters.

“It just happened so quick,” Lee said after signing for a two-under round of 70.

“Poor drive on one, made a good 10-footer for par.

“Needed to go to the toilet. Smacked my drive. Ran to the bathroom. Got down there, and I hit an 8-iron in, which is unreal.

Min Woo Lee of Australia (L) and J.J. Spaun shake hands on the 18th green after finishing their round during the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2022 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Min Woo Lee of Australia (L) and J.J. Spaun shake hands on the 18th green. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

“Hit it just over the bunker, near those sprinklers just over the bunker, and it went to three feet.

“Then it happened really quick. Just nice – hit really good shots on the front nine.

“I just got the news that it was equal the course record for the front nine. So pat on the back.”

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The younger brother of major-winning LPGA Tour star Minjee Lee said he’d take massive confidence from his first visit to Augusta.

“Coming into this week I wasn’t playing that well, so this place gets you on another level just because you’re in front of millions of people and you need to play good,” Lee said.

“There’s some demanding shots out here, and it makes you kind of reverse psychology and tell yourself you just have to commit to it.

“If you have a bad swing, you have a bad swing, but you just have to commit to every shot out here.

“I didn’t feel that good with the putter, and the last couple of weeks I think I strokes gained on the putter a lot.

“So really positive vibes there. I’ll take a few weeks off now and work on a couple of things, but maybe a little celebratory drinks with the team tonight.”

Marc Leishman (74) tied for 30th at five over, Cam Davis (73) finished 46th at 12 over, while former champion Adam Scott (74) shared 48th spot at 14 over after making the cut for a 13th straight year.

© AAP

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