ORLANDO, Fla. (March 6, 2022) – Scottie Scheffler did it again. Just three weeks after securing his first PGA TOUR victory, the 25-year-old Texan played a flawless back nine Sunday and held on for a one-stroke victory over three other players in the 44th Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard.
Scheffler shot 70-73-68-72----283 to edge 2020 tournament champion Tyrrell Hatton, third-round co-leader Billy Horschel and Viktor Hovland, who each mounted a legitimate challenge for the eventual champion but settled for runner-up status. Gary Woodland and Chris Kirk tied for fifth at 3-under par 285.
“This means a lot – I've been playing some good golf the last few years, and it's nice to get a couple wins under my belt,” said Scheffler, whose wife, parents and 86-year-old grandmother were in the gallery to witness his victory. “The pars on 17 and 18 were gut check time too. The finishing stretch here is so brutal - 15, 17, and 18 are such hard holes. I knew it was going to be tough coming down the stretch, but I just kind of hung in there all day.”
Scheffler’s previous PGA TOUR victory came at the WM Phoenix Open, where he survived a three-hole playoff with Patrick Cantlay. He’s in the midst of a career year, having registered five top-10 finishes in and seven top-25s in 10 starts this season.
Heading into Sunday’s final round at Bay Hill, Scheffler faced an uphill battle, trailing co-leaders Horschel and Talor Gooch by two strokes and Hovland by one, while also knowing that scoring conditions would be as difficult as they come thanks to stout winds, thick rough and glassy greens. Playing in the second-to-last group, he countered three front-nine bogeys with a pair of birdies and made the turn with an opportunity to do something special if he could just play conservatively and let others make mistakes.
A 12th hole birdie gave Scheffler some momentum, and on the 15th, he made a 21-foot, 9-inch putt to save par. He played it safe on 17 by hitting his tee shot to the back left of the green, then cozied up a 46-foot putt to eight inches and walked away with par. On 18, his 312-yard drive found the left rough, and his lie was good enough to allow him to get onto the middle left of the green, though he was left with a 69-footer for birdie. Once again, his putter turned out to be the most reliable club in his bag, as he rolled it to 9 inches before tapping in.
“Those lag putts at the end were pretty tough,” Scheffler admitted. “It's not really a comfortable position having to hit it to 50 feet and try and two-putt with the lead. But I just trusted myself and played conservative the last two holes, and pars were good enough.”
Hovland had a chance on 18 for birdie and a tie from the front fringe but failed to capitalize. Scheffler then went to the range as Horschel – also needing a birdie to force a playoff while playing in the final group, made one last effort on 18. The Florida native’s approach shot left him 29 feet to the hole, but his aggressive effort missed just left, and Scheffler was on his way back to the 18th green for the winner’s trophy ceremony.
“It feels great to be able to win here,” Scheffler said. “To be completely honest with you, right now I'm exhausted. This course is a total beat-down trying to play. I'm very pleased I didn't have to play any extra holes today.”
Scheffler earned $2.16 million of the $12 million purse and 550 FedExCup points. He moved to number 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking, the highest ranking of his career, and is now atop the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup standings for the first time.