US Masters

The Punter's Masters De-brief: Superb Scheffler doubles up at Augusta

Golfer Scottie Scheffler
Scottie Scheffler after winning his second Green Jacket on Sunday

Scottie Scheffler has won The Masters for the second time in three years and Steve Rawlings takes a deep dive on his famous victory here...

On the back of victories at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship, and a second place finish in the Houston Open, the world number one, Scottie Scheffler, was generally a 7/24.50/4/15.00 chance on the High Street prior to the start of the 88th edition of the US Masters.

But you can usually get a bigger price on the Betfair Exchange and he went off as high as 6.05/1 on that platform.

By the end of day one, following a six-under-par 66 that saw him trail the early pacesetter, Bryson DeChambeau, by a solitary stroke, his price had dipped to 2.747/4 and anyone that had taken the generous Exchange price was starting to feel confident.

He hit odds-on for the first time after a great drive on the par five 13th on Friday, but he found Rae's Creek with his approach and the cakewalk win that looked a distinct possibility went out the window.

Scheffler had led by five at the halfway stage when he won his first Green Jacket in 2022 but he entered the weekend tied at the top with DeChambeau and Max Homa this year, and he was trading at 2.56/4.

He hit odds-on again after beginning round three with birdies at one and three but after a double bogey at 10, a bogey at 11 and a poor tee shot at the par three 12th, he drifted all the way back out to 6.05/1.

His pre-event layers had been given a lifeline and a chance to trade out their positions, but the window of opportunity didn't last long.

He holed his five-foot par save at 12, eagled 13, and played out his remaining holes in one-under-par (two birdies and a bogey) to enter the final round with a one stroke lead.

As many as five of the previous seven US Masters winners had been leading with a round to go so it was understandable to see his price contract throughout the day, from a shade of odds-against to a shade of odds-on.

Although he birdied the third to move two clear, it was a steady start by the world number one, and after bogeys at four and seven, and a birdie by Homa at the par five eighth, we had a four-way tie at the top between Scheffler, Homa, Collin Morikawa and the debutant, Ludvig Aberg. Were we going to get an exciting finale after all?

Scheffler and Morikawa both birdied the eighth and Aberg joined them at the top with a ludicrous birdie from 36 feet on nine.

It looked like being a tense finale but in the space of just 40 minutes the entire tournament was turned on its head.

All change around the turn

Having been matched at low of 3.39/4, Morikawa was the first to stumble when he made a double bogey six at nine, as Scheffler moved clear again with a tap in birdie following this brilliant approach.

Homa then got to within one and alongside Aberg with a brilliant birdie at the 10th but he and his playing partner's challenge was about to fizzle out.

Scheffler moved two clear again with a birdie of his own at ten, and that happened just moments before Aberg, who was matched at a low of 3.3512/5, found the water left of the green at 11.

That rookie mistake led to a double-bogey six to put Aberg out of the equation and despite dropping a shot at the ultra-tough 11th, Scheffler was clear by three as he stood on the 12th tee after Homa, who was matched a low of 4.77/2, had double-bogeyed the hole after a poor tee-shot.

A par at 12 was followed by birdies at 13, 14 and 16 and Scheffler went on to win by four over Aberg and by seven over the rest!

Is the US Masters the easiest major to bet on?

Every year we see people make plausible and understandable arguments as to why certain trends at Augusta are going to be broken but year after year the same things happen at the year's first major.

Only the very best have defended the title - Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, and Tiger Woods - and we're still yet to see a first timer win since 1979 so that's a host of players you can put a line through with a degree of confidence. Although it might be brave to take on Scheffler in 2025!

We haven't had a triple figure priced winner since 2009 and four of the last five winners have been very easy to spot so concentrate on the fancied runners.

Following Ben Hogan (1951-53), Arnold Palmer (1958-60), Jack Nicklaus (1963-65), Phil Mickelson (2004-06) and Bubba Watson (2012-14), Scheffler is the sixth man to win his second Green Jacket two years after his first, so that's a good omen for Jon Rahm in 12 months' time.

The top five this year had all won on either the DP World Tour or the PGA Tour or both in the previous six months but a good performance in the year's previous renewal of the US Masters continues to be a negative.

Here's how last year's top-ten and ties fared this year.

1 Jon Rahm (T45)
2 Phil Mickelson (T43)
2 Brooks Koepka (T45)
4 Patrick Reed (T12)
4 Russell Henley (T38)
4 Jordan Spieth (MC)
7 Cameron Young (T9)
7 Viktor Hovland (MC)
9 Sahith Theegala (T45)
10 Scottie Scheffler (1)
10 Collin Morikawa (T3)
10 Xander Schauffele (8)
10 Matthew Fitzpatrick (T22)

Scottie's the man for a repeat win?

I understand why punters shied away from the short-priced favourite before the off and I'm not ordinarily a fan of the market leaders, but I was extremely bullish about Scheffler's chances before the off and I'll continue to keep him onside at the right events.

Comparisons with the very best and even Tiger Woods, are more than fair as his career continues to reach new levels and while he may never get close to achieving what Tiger has accomplished, he's already emulating him in one respect.

Throughout his career, Tiger has performed well and won the same events and so far, Scheffler has won two US Masters, two Players Championships, two Phoenix Opens and two Arnold Palmer Invitationals.

Scheffler wins teh Players again.jpg

He has only nine PGA Tour titles to his name so far and the only one not listed above is the now defunct WGC Match Play, which he won in 2022, and he traded at odds-on in the final edition of that event last year before losing in the semi-finals.

Just like Tiger, Scheffler clearly enjoys returning to the scene of a previous success and he's one to keep on the right side of at any venue he's shown an aptitude for.

Given the record of defending champs, he should be one to swerve at Augusta in 2025 but it's perhaps worth highliting that up until Scheffler doubled up this year, nobody had ever defended the Players Championship.

The elite players defy the stats and trends time and time again and Scheffler is most certainly one of the very best we've ever seen.

Now read my RBC Heritage preview

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter


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