The Punter's De-brief: Sensational Scheffler finds his touch on the greens

Golfer Scottie Scheffler
Scottie Scheffler with the Arnold Palmer Invitational trophy

Scottie Scheffler has won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Brice Garnett has won in Puerto Rico and Matteo Manassero wins for the first time in more than 10 years...

  • Scottie Scheffler putts his way to wide margin win

  • Magical Matteo wins again on the DP World Tour

  • Read my Players Championship preview here

  • World number one Scottie Scheffler had 2024 form figures reading 5-17-6-2-10 prior to last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational. But he'd topped the Greens In Regulation stats in three of his five starts and ranked first, seventh, 13th, first and second for Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.

    He'd been striping it from tee-to-green all year but there was clearly one aspect of his game holding him back.

    Prior to last week, he'd ranked no better than 32nd for Strokes Gained: Putting but his latest new putter appears to have done the trick.

    Having switched from a blade to a mallet putter, Scheffler ended the week ranking first for Putting Average and fifth for SG: Putting. Victory at Bay Hill, his second in three years, was never really in doubt on day four.

    Having started the fourth round tied for the lead with Shane Lowry, and trading at around 2.89/5, the world number one powered away from the field from the get-go. He made 16 of 16 putts inside 15 feet in round four and he won the event easily by five!

    Everyone else was always going to be in big trouble once Scheffler found his touch on the greens and he's more than capable of going on a run now.

    Masters money for impressive Scheffler

    He's a warm favourite to defend his Players Championship title at Sawgrass this week and he's firmed up at the head of the US Masters market. Generally a 9/110.00 chance to win the year's first major for the last month or so, he's now trading at 7/18.00 and I'm in no rush to lay him.

    Having never won on the PGA Tour previously, between February 2022 and April 2022, Scheffler won four of the six tournaments he played in and the fourth of the four was the US Masters. It's very easy to see him putting in a similar sort of run if the new putter continues to work.

    He's been far and away the best player on the planet from tee-to-green for a long while so he's going to be tough to beat if the flatstick behaves.

    Brice bags his second PGA Tour title

    Last week's opposite field event on the PGA Tour - the Puerto Rico Open - went to a playoff between two out of form outsiders - pre-event 300.0299/1 chance, Brice Garnett, and 160.0159/1 shot, Erik Barnes - and it took four holes to separate them.

    Garnett may have been a huge price but, as a 40-year-old former winner of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, he actually ticked a few boxes and he was on my shortlist.

    Magical Matteo wins again

    Over on the DP World Tour, Matteo Manassero, who hadn't won on the DP World Tour since he won the BMW PGA Championship way back in 2013, was an extremely impressive winner of the Jonsson Workwear Open.

    The pre-event 270.0269/1 chance trailed by four in a tie for 20th after round one but a sensational 61 on Friday morning saw him hit the front and he maintained his one stroke lead through round three.

    The 30-year-old Italian was trading at 4.3100/30 with a round to go and after back-to-back birdies at five and six, he always looked the most likely winner.

    South African longshots, Oliver Bekker and Shaun Norris were matched in-running at 2.26/5 and 2.14] respectively but Manassero was the only man to go odds-on.

    Birdies at 15 and 16 saw him put one hand on the trophy but an untimely weather delay after he'd driven off the par five 17th tee meant he had to wait around for a couple of hours before he could finish the job.

    It wouldn't have been a surprise if he'd displayed some nerves when he returned to the course as darkness descended but he was absolutely flawless. He birdied both 17 and 18 to win by three over Jordan Smith, Norris and the fast-finishing pre-event favourite, Thriston Lawrence.

    We have just one event to concentrate on this week but it's a very good one.

    Fresh off his impressive victory at Bay Hill, Scheffler is off to Sawgrass to attempt to become the first man to defend the Players Championship.

    *You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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