Golf-Scheffler’s Masters pursuers get dreams crushed in Amen Corner

By Thomson Reuters Apr 14, 2024 | 7:11 PM

By Frank Pingue

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Scottie Scheffler had a trio of golfers breathing down his neck during the final round of the Masters until they all abruptly joined the unsavoury list of Amen Corner victims and opened the door for him to slip into a second Green Jacket.

The pivotal Amen Corner consists of holes 11-13 and the treacherous stretch tends to be a pivotal spot in deciding the Masters tournament each year but it is rare to see so many golfers crumble in such quick succession.

Scheffler, fresh off three consecutive birdies, reached the par-four 11th clinging to a two-shot lead but when he exited Amen Corner, which has famously thwarted many Sunday runs for the Green Jacket, he led by three shots and was well on his way.

The first victim was Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg, who was making his major championship debut and for much of the week had looked like a seasoned pro around Augusta National.

Aberg, playing one group ahead of Scheffler, was a shot back when he reached the par-four 11th hole where he racked up a round-derailing double-bogey after sending his second shot into the pond that guards the green to the left.

“The wind caught it and hit it in the water,” Aberg said of his approach shot from 216 yards out. “It was probably one of the few swings this week where I really put it in a bad spot where I knew I couldn’t miss left and I missed it left.”

While Aberg went on to make two consecutive birdies starting at the par-five 13th it proved too little, too late as Scheffler smelled blood and birdied three of his final six holes to seal the deal well before he tapped in for par at the last.

Collin Morikawa was tied with playing partner Scheffler when they reached the ninth hole but slipped back after a double-bogey and then fell out of contention with another double at the 11th where his second shot also landed in the pond.

“Just tried to hit too perfect of a shot,” twice major champion Morikawa said about his second shot at 11. “It’s not like at that point I was trying to press. I knew where I stood.”

Homa, also playing one group ahead of Scheffler, was a shot off the lead when he reached the picturesque par-three 12th where his tee shot bounced off the green and got lost in a bush, leading to a dream-crushing double-bogey.

When asked what he was thinking after he walked across the Ben Hogan Bridge to reach the bush where his ball was, world number 11 Homa was very candid.

“The honest answer is it didn’t feel fair,” said the American, whose share of third place was his best finish in a major. “I hit a really good golf shot, and it didn’t feel fair. I’ve seen far worse just roll back down the hill.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Ken Ferris)