Scottie Scheffler’s unfathomable form continued in Georgia, as he became Masters champion to secure his first major championship.
Scheffler has captured four PGA Tour titles in the space of two months, but this will be the one he enjoys the most.
His first win was recorded at the Phoenix Open before he traveled to Florida to edge out Viktor Hovland at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
From there, he bested Kevin Kisner during the final of the World Golf Championship Match Play, before culminating his electrifying period of form as Masters champion.
If the players were expecting a friendly golf course awaiting them, they were quickly brought down to reality as Augusta bared its teeth early this year.
Sungjae Im held the 18-hole lead after a fantastic opening round of 67, with Cameron Smith (68), Scheffler, Dustin Johnson, Danny Willett and Joaquin Niemann carding 69.
Friday produced another stern test but Scheffler supplied a masterclass to finish five-under for the day and eight-under for the tournament.
Justin Thomas, who opened with 76 and had work to do to make the cut, produced a dazzling 67 of his own as he looked to get himself back into contention.
Shane Lowry may have finished one-over on the Thursday, but his magnificent 68 propelled him up the leaderboard as the Irishman looked for his second major championship.
Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama could only finish even-par during his first round, but a gutsy 69 renewed fresh hope of a successful defense.
Stewart Cink could not progress to the weekend, but he did ace the par-3 16th to spark scenes of jubilation as his son was caddying for him – providing the ultimate birthday present!
Some notable figures to miss the cut included Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Gary Woodland, Bryson DeChambeau and Abraham Ancer.
It’s been apparent for quite some time that both Smith and Scheffler have been the standout participants of the tour this season, and that was especially true at Augusta.
The Australian shot the lowest score of the day (68) during a moving day that only saw 11 players card under par rounds – and Scheffler was one of them.
Rory McIlroy managed to produce his first under-par performance of the week, whilst Im refused to give up on his dreams after a wayward 74 by responding with a 71 of his own.
The final pairing for Sunday was Smith and Scheffler, with only three shots separating the two hottest players on tour right now.
Augusta Glory – But For Who?
A common thought is that The Masters doesn’t truly begin until the final day or even the back nine, as typical straightforward shots become far more intense.
Smith birdied both the 1st and 2nd hole to narrow Scheffler’s lead to just one-stroke, as the American produced excellent chips to save par on his opening two holes.
The 3rd hole saw poor approaches from both Smith and Scheffler, which resulted in the duo facing identical chips.
The American played first and his extraordinarily brave effort resulted in him chipping in for a birdie, whilst Smith opted for the lofted version but couldn’t save par, which swung the score back to how the day started.
Scheffler went out in 34 after another birdie on 7, whilst Smith would bogey the 4th before also birdieing the 7th to go out in 35.
As the leaders made the turn, there was another golfer who was blitzing the course ahead of them: McIlroy.
After going out in 32 – thanks to four birdies on 1, 3, 7, and 8 – he mirrored that score coming home, birdieing 10 and 18 and notching an eagle on the par-5 13th.
His final round score of 64 was the lowest of the week, and the Northern Irishman set the clubhouse lead at seven-under.
Smith saw his chances evaporate swiftly at the par-3 12th, finding the water as he grudgingly carded a 6 to end his dream of major glory.
Scheffler could afford a four-putt on the 18th hole to earn one of the more comfortable victories in recent memory and become the 2022 Masters champion.
McIlroy finished second, which was the first time that the 32-year-old had finished within the top 3 in his career at Augusta.
Lowry and Smith occupied T3 whilst Collin Morikawa made an unbelievable birdie on the 18th to sneak into the top 5 ahead of both Will Zalatoris and Corey Conners.
The next PGA Tour event will be the RBC Heritage in South Carolina, and you can read our preview for that tournament here.