Scottie Scheffler’s Masters rollercoaster ride bears out why he’s World No. 1

Sitting at 7-under par, world number one Scottie Scheffler stood in the 10th fairway clinging to a one-shot lead at The Masters.

A man who rarely makes mistakes, Scheffler looked like he would ease his way to the 54-hole lead by day’s end. His tee-to-green play is too good, and his putter was cooperating, too.

Yet, Scheffler miscalculated the wind and air-mailed the 10th green with his approach. His ball tumbled over the green, caromed down the hill, and landed in scraggly pine needles beside a bush, leaving him in a precarious position.

“I hit what I thought was a decent shot into 10,” Scheffler said afterward.

“I wasn’t trying to land it back by the pin, but I got a bad gust, and it landed eight feet from the pin, and it ended up in the bushes back there.”

It consequently led to a double-bogey, and suddenly, Scheffler—who has been so dominant for the past 24 months—looked mortal. Another bogey at 11 followed, and within minutes, Scheffler went from 7-under to 4-under, opening the door for plenty of others on a difficult day at Augusta National.

Scottie Scheffler, The Masters

Scottie Scheffler plays his second shot on the 11th hole during the third round of the 2024 Masters.
Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

But Scheffler is the best player in the world for a reason.

“Things happen pretty fast out there,” Scheffler added.

He then locked in on the next hole, the famous par-3 12th.

“The putt on 12 was extremely important,” Scheffler said.

“I made about a 7-footer up the hill, which, when the greens are fast and bumpy, are not the easiest putts to hole. It was nice to see that ball go in. And then I used that momentum to keep things rolling there at 13 and into the finish.”

At the famous par-5 13th, Scheffler hit a gorgeous tee shot, which gave him the green light to try and go for the green in two. He managed to do so, giving himself a terrific opportunity to bite into the lead he had just squandered.

Scheffler took advantage of that chance by pouring it in for eagle from 30 feet out. That big-time putt elicited a rare triple-fist pump from Scheffler and vaulted him back into a share of the lead.

Two holes later, at the par-5 15th, Scheffler made another birdie, shooting him back up and into the solo lead to 7-under—the position he held when he made the turn.

But his rollercoaster ride was not over yet.

After two-putting for par at 16, Scheffler missed a 7-footer for par on 17, which had a diabolical hole location on the front portion of the green. It gave players fits all day, so much so that it ranked as the second most difficult hole on Saturday.

“[You have to be] patient and understanding that kind of stuff is going to happen,” Scheffler said.

“It wasn’t like I hit that many bad shots, but it’s a hard golf course.”

Funny enough, the hardest hole during Saturday’s third round was the uphill, dogleg right 18th. Another challenge stared Scheffler right in the face, but instead of folding under pressure, he conquered it.

Scheffler hit a gorgeous tee shot, which led to the best approach of the day on the closing hole. He calmly knocked in his 5-footer for birdie—his 71st stroke of the day.

After all that, Scheffler holds a one-shot advantage over Collin Morikawa going into the final round. As the 2022 Masters champion, Scheffler finds himself in a familiar position. Plus, he has won The Players Championship twice in a row, drawing many to compare him to Tiger Woods.

“It’s nice to have that experience, but going into [Sunday], that’s really all that it is,” Scheffler said.

“I can reflect on some of that stuff from that round, and this is a position I’m very familiar with. I’m excited for the challenge of going and trying to win the golf tournament [on Sunday]. But at the end of the day, it’s all about my process and trying to stay patient out there and hit all my shots and hit quality putts as well.”

Scheffler did not have to wait to make birdies on Saturday. His third round began with a bang, thanks to a chip-in birdie on the opening hole. He then drained a 30-footer for birdie two holes later.

But he came back down to Earth on the par-3 4th, where he failed to get up and down from the sand.

After that, Scheffler’s rollercoaster ride steadied on the front nine as he finished with five straight pars. But when he reached the 10th hole, things almost went off the rails.

Yet, thankfully, for Scheffler’s sake, he pulled himself together, as the best player in the world should. Now he has an incredible opportunity to win that coveted Green Jacket for a second time.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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