Scheffler overcomes pain in the neck to defend PLAYERS title as Theegala record Top-10 finish -
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Scheffler overcomes pain in the neck to defend PLAYERS title as Theegala record Top-10 finish

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA – MARCH 17: Scottie Scheffler of the United States poses with the PLAYERS Championship trophy after putting in to win on the 18th hole for his second consecutive win at THE PLAYERS Championship during the final round at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 17, 2024 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Khel Today Bureau 

Ponte Vedra: Scottie Scheffler overcame a painful neck injury to become the first player to successfully defend his title at the US$25 million THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.

Scheffler lived up to the adage “Beware the Injured Golfer” as he overcame a neck injury, firing a closing 64 to overcome an overnight five-stroke deficit and pip overnight leader Xander Schauffele (70), Brian Harman (68) and Wyndham Clark (69) by a single stroke after a pulsating final round.

With his 20-under winning total, he successfully defend his title at TPC Sawgrass.

Indian-American Sahith Theegala (70-67-67-71) registered his best finish at the PGA TOUR’s flagship by closing in at Tied-9th place at 13-under. In the final round, Theegala, who has one win on the PGA Tour, had three birdies against two bogeys.

Scheffler, 27, cemented his stature as the best golfer on the planet by becoming the first player to successfully defend THE PLAYERS title, while also winning in back-to-back weeks following his triumph at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard last week.

It was his eighth PGA TOUR title since the start of the 2021-22 season, the most of any player in that span. The next best figure is five  by Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm.

Playing in the fourth to last pairing on Sunday, Scheffler holed out from the fairway for a stunning eagle on the fourth hole to spark his title charge before adding six more birdies to post the day’s joint low score with Kim.

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 11: Sahith Theegala makes birdie at the 18th hole during the second round of the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 11, 2022 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Tracy Wilcox/PGA TOUR via Getty Images).

Harman, Schauffele and Clark, who also finished runner-up to Scheffler last week, all had birdie looks on the last hole to force a play-off but missed. Clark came closest when his 17-foot attempt horse-shoed out of the cup.

“Today was another battle, hard-fought week. A lot of guys played some really good golf this week. A few of them finished at 19; I finished at 20-under. That’s some really good golf around this course,” said Scheffler, who suffered a neck sprain during the second round which inhibited his movements.

“I parred the first three, and then the hole-out really got me going there on No. 4. I made some nice putts to close out the back nine. Going into days like today it’s nice coming out on top, for sure. It’s a great feeling.”

Among Asian stars, Korean Si Woo Kim fired his career best score of 8-under 64 at THE PLAYERS to post his first top-10 of the season. Kim, the 2017 PLAYERS champion, hit top form in the final round of the US showpiece. He snared an eagle, seven birdies against a lone bogey to finish tied sixth on 15-under 273 alongside Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama who closed with a flawless 67.

Kim was delighted to enjoy his first top-10 since finishing fourth at the Memorial Tournament. The highlight of Kim’s day was an eagle on the par-5 16th hole when he rifled a 3 iron from 236 yards to 18 feet of the pin, which he duly holed.

Matsuyama maintained his recent run of good form which includes a win and a T12 in his last two starts as he recorded his fourth top-10 in THE PLAYERS Championship. He made five birdies against no bogeys to end his week on a high note with rounds of (69-69-68-67).

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