Scottie Scheffler bests Kevin Kisner in Match Play final, rises to world No. 1 with third win in past six weeks


AUSTIN, Texas — Winning by now should be old hat for Scottie Scheffler. Sunday in the Dell Technologies Match Play was special for so many reasons, and the new No. 1 player in the world couldn’t hide it.

Moments after Scheffler closed out Kevin Kisner on the 15th hole to win for the third time in five starts, the 25-year-old Texan was overcome by tears and hugs, from his wife to his parents and sisters and pretty much everyone who could get a piece of him at Austin Country Club.

From a top junior in Dallas to four years as a Texas Longhorn to his time outside the ropes at the Match Play watching the world’s best, all Scheffler wanted to do was play alongside them.

And now he’s the one everyone is chasing as No. 1 in the world.

“I never really got that far in my dreams,” Scheffler said at the trophy presentation, choking up and wiping away more tears. “I just love to play golf. I love competing. I’m happy to be out here, you know?”

The hottest player in golf now has the ranking to prove it.

One year after losing in the championship match, Scheffler never trailed against Kisner, building a 3-up lead through six holes and giving him no chance to catch up. Scheffler closed him out with a par on the 15th for a 4-and-3 victory.

Scheffler led the whole way in his 3-and-1 semifinal win over Dustin Johnson, and he was so solid in the championship match that Kisner didn’t win a hole.

“I don’t know if anybody is playing better than he is,” said Kisner, who joined Tiger Woods and Geoff Ogilvy as the only players to reach the championship match at least three times. Kisner won the Match Play three years ago.

So much was going Scheffler’s way that on the par-5 12th, Scheffler got too cute with an eagle chip that caught a slope and rolled into a bunker. Kisner had 6 feet for birdie, looking to cut the deficit to 1 down with seven to play.

And then Scheffler holed the bunker shot for a birdie.

Kisner had to make the putt to keep from losing more ground. By then it was getting late, and Scheffler went 4 up with four to play when Kisner bogeyed the 14th.

Scheffler is so good at blocking out so much around him that he wasn’t even aware of the No. 1 scenario until Saturday. Jon Rahm, who had been atop the ranking since the Open Championship, lost in 19 holes in the fourth round. That meant Scheffler would go to No. 1 by winning.

That he did, looking every bit like the cool customer who won the Phoenix Open in a playoff six weeks ago, followed by a rally to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

“Pretty cool to do that in front of my family. They’ve supported me so much along the way,” he said. “I really don’t know what to say about that. I don’t feel like that. I don’t feel like No. 1 in the world. I feel like the same guy I was four months ago, and I hope that doesn’t change.”

He became the first player to win his first three career events in a five-start span since David Duval in 1997 (Duval won all three in consecutive starts).

And he is the sixth-youngest player to reach No. 1 since the world ranking began in 1986.

Scheffler was ranked 15th in the world prior to the five-start stretch. Among the 24 players who have held No. 1 in the world, none of them has had a steeper rise to the top in such a short span.

Scheffler joined Kisner as the only players to win the Match Play the year after losing in the championship match.

“I’ve thought about winning this tournament ever since last year,” Scheffler said. “It left kind of a poor taste in my mouth getting so close and ultimately coming up short. So it feels really good to finish the job this time around.”

Scheffler had to hold his breath in the semifinals Sunday morning against Johnson. He seized on Johnson’s worst round of putting to build a 5-up lead through 11 holes, only for Johnson to win the next four holes. Scheffler was 1 up on the par-5 16th when Johnson missed a 4-foot putt, and the match ended on the 17th.

That championship match was never in doubt, except to Scheffler. He was well aware of Kisner’s record at Austin Country Club — 22-6-1 going into the title match — and his record rally from 3 down with four holes to play to beat Adam Scott the day before.

Kisner, who outlasted Corey Conners of Canada in 18 holes in the morning, began with a wedge to 3 feet for birdie. Scheffler followed with a shot to 8 feet and the Texas crowd roared when he made the putt to match birdies.

Kisner lost the second hole with a bogey from a tough lie in the bunker, Scheffler went 2 up with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-3 fourth and hit a beautiful chip from behind the green on the par-5 sixth to go 3 up.

They halved the next seven holes, each one moving Scheffler closer to the title.

He earned $2.1 million for the win — that’s $5,736,000 for his past three wins — and heads to Augusta National as one of the favorites.

Conners won the first three holes in the consolation match and beat Johnson, 3 and 1.

Information from ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press was used in this report.

AUSTIN, Texas — Scottie Scheffler is the hottest player in golf and now has the ranking to prove it.

Six weeks after his first PGA Tour victory, Scheffler won the Dell Technologies Match Play for his third title in his past five starts, this one enough to move him to No. 1 in the world.

“I never got that far in my dreams,” Scheffler said in the trophy ceremony before choking up and wiping away tears, a rare show of emotion for the 25-year-old Texan. “I just play golf. I love competing. I’m happy to be out here, you know?”

One year after losing in the championship match, Scheffler never trailed against Kevin Kisner, building a 3-up lead through six holes and giving him no chance to catch up. Scheffler closed him out with a par on the 15th for a 4-and-3 victory.

Scheffler never trailed in the semifinal win over Dustin Johnson or against Kisner — he went the final 57 holes at Austin Country Club without trailing — and he was so solid in the championship match that Kisner didn’t win a hole.

“He’s playing incredible golf,” Kisner said. “I couldn’t get the putter to cooperate.”

So much was going Scheffler’s way that on the par-5 12th, with Kisner looking at a 6-foot birdie, Scheffler didn’t hit his eagle chip hard enough and it rolled down a slope into a bunker. And then he holed the bunker shot for a birdie.

Right when Kisner looked as though he would win his first hole and cut the deficit to 2 down with seven to play, he had to make the 6-footer to keep from losing more ground. But a bogey on the 14th spelled the end for Kisner.

Scheffler, so even-keel on the course, was caught up in the moment when it was over. He won at Austin Country Club, where the Texas Longhorns occasionally practiced. Scheffler earned a business degree in four years without summer school.

Winning should now be familiar. Getting to No. 1? That might explain the tears as he hugged every family member around him.

And then he had nothing to say, laughing as he searched for words.

“I’m pretty worn out right now,” he said.

Scheffler won the Phoenix Open six week ago, and followed that with a win at Bay Hill to move to No. 5 in the world. He became the first player to win his first three career events in a five-start span since David Duval in 1997 (he won all 3 in consecutive starts).

Scheffler needed help from Jon Rahm to get to the top. Rahm, who had been No. 1 since July 18, lost in the fourth round in 19 holes to Brooks Koepka. That paved the way for Scheffler to replace him by winning the Match Play.

He is the sixth-youngest player to reach No. 1 since the world ranking began in 1986.

Scheffler was ranked 15th in the world prior to the five-start stretch. Among the 24 players who have held No. 1 in the world, none of them have had a steeper rise to the top in such a short span.

Scheffler also joined Kisner as the only players to win the Match Play the year after losing in the championship match.

Scheffler had to hold his breath in the semifinals Sunday morning against Johnson. He seized on Johnson’s worst round of putting to build a 5-up lead through 11 holes, only for Johnson to win the next four holes. Scheffler was 1 up on the par-5 16th when Johnson missed a 4-foot putt, and the match ended on the 17th.

That championship match was never in doubt.

Kisner, who outlasted Corey Conners of Canada in 18 holes in the morning, began with a wedge to 3 feet for birdie. Scheffler followed with a shot to 8 feet, and the Texas crowd roared when he made the putt to match birdies.

Kisner lost the second hole with a bogey from a tough lie in the bunker, Scheffler went 2 up with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-3 fourth and hit a beautiful chip from behind the green on the par-5 sixth to go 3 up.

They halved the next seven holes, each one moving Scheffler closer to the title. He earned $2.1 million for the win and heads to Augusta National as one of the leading favorites.

Conners won the first three holes in the consolation match and beat Johnson, 3 and 1.

Information from ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press was used in this report.





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