No. 1 Scheffler Rolls to 5-Shot Victory in the 59th Arnold Palmer Invitational

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler showed emphatically that he is the best golfer in the world.

The 27-year-old Scheffler carded a brilliant, bogey-free six-under par 66 to win the 59th Arnold Palmer Invitational by five strokes over seventh-ranked Wyndham Clark at Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Fla.

“This one’s pretty special,” said Scheffler, who claimed his seventh PGA Tour victory in the last three seasons, including the API two of the last three years. It had been a little while since I won a tournament. … There had been a lot of chatter about my game and the state of where it was at, and so it was nice to kind of come in here with a good mental attitude and to perform well under pressure and I think today’s round was really special for me going forward.

“It’s frustrating to not have the best of myself, just because I know that I can putt really well. It’s not like I’ve been a bad putter my whole career. I’ve just gone through a stretch where it’s been tough. I think this week I did a really good job of not letting the misses get to me. Teddy (Scott, Scheffler’s caddie) did a really good job of keeping me in a good head space and we stayed positive out there, and I hit a lot of good putts this week.

“If you’re trying to play perfect golf, it doesn’t really work. There’s no such thing. … Sometimes when things aren’t going right, you try to be perfect. My process was really good this week, and the results so far are pretty tough to argue with, I would say.”

Added Scott: “It’s hard whenever someone is such a good person and has so many great attributes and people only want to highlight what he’s struggling with. The key to being at the top of this game is how do you deal with all the noise and play with what’s inside your heart and inside your head. He’s really special at that, and even as special as he is, it’s still a difficult thing sometimes.”

Scheffler, who was greeted by his pregnant wife, Meredith, behind the 18th green, started on the right foot with a birdie on the first hole, added another at No. 6 and made four on the back nine in his flawless round to record a winning score of 15-under-par 273.

Clark, the reigning U.S. Open champion, sank  26-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to cap a 70 to finish solo second, while Shane Lowry of Ireland, the 2019 Open champion who started the final round tied for the lead with Scheffler, made two late birdies to salvage a 72 and was six shots down in third.

“It would be borderline unfair if (Scheffler) starts putting really good,” said Clark, who won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last month. “I never want to wish ill on anybody, but if he starts putting positive each week. it’s going to be really hard to beat.”

Will Zalatoris, who held a three-stroke lead at one point in thee third round, closed with a 72 and finished eight strokes behind in a tie for fourth with Russell Henley, who also had a 72, while Sahith Theegala of Chino Hills and Pepperdine made three birdies on each nine in a 68 and wound up 10 shots down in a tie for sixth with Brendon Todd, who had two late birdies in a 70.

Eighth-ranked Max Homa of Valencia and Cal managed only a 72 to finish 11 behind in a tie for eighth with Byeong Hun An of South Korea, who had three birdies on each nine in a 68, Andrew Putnam of Pepperdine, who made has lone bogey on the last hole in a 70, and Emiliano Grillo of Argentina, who sank a five-foot eagle putt at No. 16 in a 71.

Tenth-ranked Brian Harman tied for 12th following a 71, while second-ranked Rory McIlroy stumble to a 76 and tied for 21st, and sixth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State birdied the last hole for a 70 to tie for 25th.

Seventh-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA made four late bogeys in a 74 to finish in a tie for tie for 36th that included fourth-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway, who struggled to a second straight 75.

Scheffler hopes to repeat his performance this week in the 50th Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

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