Arnold Palmer Invitational: Scottie Scheffler has Oscar worthy win

Scottie Scheffler proved why he is the best player in the world at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday.

He gained more than four strokes on the greens, relying on his new mallet putter to separate himself from the field. Scheffler began the day tied with Shane Lowry at 9-under, but won by five shots after shooting a 6-under 66.

The 2022 Masters champion got off to a roaring start, birdieing the first hole right out of the gate. Meanwhile, Lowry, who played alongside Scheffler in the final group, made a sloppy bogey, quickly giving the Texan a two-shot advantage.

Wyndham Clark also began his final round with an opening birdie, which briefly tied the lead, but he gave that shot back at the tough par-3 2nd, dropping back to 8-under and two behind Scheffler.

That was all the help Scheffler needed as he paraded around Bay Hill without dropping a shot. He deserved an Oscar Award for his performance Sunday, as he was the only player during Sunday’s final round to go bogey-free.

Scottie Scheffler, PGA Tour, Arnold Palmer Invitational

Scottie Scheffler hits his tee shot on the 15th hole during the final round of the 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Scheffler’s second birdie of the day came at the par-5 6th, which wraps around one of Bay Hill’s massive lakes. Tommy Fleetwood made news on this hole earlier in the week, going full ‘Tin Cup’ by making a 10 on the hole.

Alas, Scheffler made it through his front nine unscathed, carding a 2-under 34 to jump to 11-under for the championship. Every other player who began their final rounds in the top 10 failed to shoot under-par on the opening nine.

The average score for those players was a 2-over 38.

And yet, Scheffler marched on.

At the par-4 10th, Scheffler made his third birdie, sticking his approach from 90 yards out to eight feet away. He calmly made the putt to move to 12-under.

On the next hole, the challenging par-4 11th, Scheffler found his seventh fairway of the round, which gave him another green light from 109 yards. He stuck his second shot to within 10 feet again, leading to his fourth birdie of the final round.

By that point, Scheffler sat at 13-under and held a five-shot lead.

Scottie Scheffler, PGA Tour, Arnold Palmer Invitational

Scottie Scheffler lines up his birdie putt on the 6th hole during the final round of the 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Photo by Brian Spurlock/Getty Images

But he was not finished.

Three holes later, at the challenging par-4 15th, Scheffler drained a 34-footer for birdie, his fifth of the day. He gained more strokes with his putter than any other player on Sunday, a scary sight for the rest of the field.

Considering how well Scheffler has played tee-to-green, all he needed was a halfway decent week with the putter to have a chance at victory.

He had that and then some this week, as his new mallet putter carried him to victory. For the week, Scheffler gained more than 16 shots total, ranking first. But he also ranked fifth in strokes gained putting, picking up 4.347 shots with his flat stick.

For the season, Scheffler ranks 144th in strokes gained on the greens. It has been the one weak link in his game.

“It would be borderline unfair if he starts putting really well,” Clark said of Scheffler.

“I never want to wish ill on anybody, but if he starts putting positive each week he’s going to be really hard to beat. But that’s good. It’s just going to push me to get better in my ball striking and every part of the game. He’s kind of the barometer right now, and I’ve got a lot of room to catch up and get better.”

Scottie Scheffler, PGA Tour, Arnold Palmer Invitational

Scottie Scheffler lines up a putt on the 18th green during the final round of the 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Much to the dissatisfaction of others, Scheffler’s putting woes did not show up at Bay Hill. Instead, he dominated Arnie’s Place.

He picked up one more birdie on the par-5 16th and finished with two pars to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational for a second time.

“To be 6-under today going out with the lead and just sort of lapping the field is super impressive, but we all knew that he had this in him,” Rory McIlroy said of Scheffler’s final round.

“His ball striking is honestly on another level compared to everyone else right now. We knew if he started to hole putts, then this sort of stuff would happen.”

His victory this week marks his first win since the 2023 PLAYERS Championship nearly one year ago.

Should his putter continue to cooperate next week at TPC Sawgrass, Scheffler could easily go back-to-back. He has found something with his putter, and that should terrify the rest of the sport.

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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