Scottie Scheffler held a six-stroke lead on the field at the start of the final round of the Tour Championship, but carded a final round of 3-over par to finish tied for second place. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 29 (UPI) — World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler said a swarm of “mental errors” led to his tumble from the top of the leaderboard and second-place finish to Rory McIlroy at the 2022 Tour Championship golf tournament.
Scheffler entered the final round with a six-stroke lead on McIlroy and Xander Schauffele, who were tied for second at 17-under par on Sunday at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
“It’s a tough break, but that’s golf,” Scheffler told reporters. “You get good ones and bad ones. I put myself in position to win this tournament when I wasn’t playing my best today. I’m proud of how I fought.”
Scheffler carded a bogey on No. 1 to start the final round. He made par on three of his next four holes, but made bogey on Nos. 5 and 6 to lose three strokes. McIlroy birdied Nos. 3, 5, 6 and 7 to tie Scheffler at 20-under for the lead on the front nine. He made par on Nos. 8 and 9.
Scheffler recovered with a birdie on No. 8 to carry a one-stroke lead into the back nine, but that would be his final birdie of the day. He made par on eight of his final nine holes and carded a bogey on No. 16 to finish the round at 3-over par.
“On No. 1, I didn’t trust that the ball was going to break as much as it was going to on my second putt,” Scheffler said. “I had good putts on Nos. 2 and 3, but on No. 4, I wasn’t trusting my read. I missed the last one to the right. I ended up pulling that one. On No. 6, I tried to force one in by the pin, when I really shouldn’t have. I should’ve played it to the right, but tried to force it in there.
“It was little mental errors like that.”
McIlroy tied for the lead with a birdie on No. 12. He made bogey on No. 14, but responded with a 31-foot putt for birdie on the next hole to tie the for the lead. Scheffler’s bogey on No. 16 gave McIlroy the late edge. McIlroy finished the tournament with a final-round of 4-under to claim the FedExCup and $18 million first-place prize.
Scheffler held a five-stroke lead through the first round of the tournament. He held a two-stroke lead on Schauffele through the tournament’s first 36 holes. He was even par through 12 holes when play was suspended due to lightning during Saturday’s third round. He held a one-stroke lead on Schauffele when play resumed Sunday morning.
He finished his third round with birdies on Nos. 13, 15 and 17 to push his lead to six strokes, but was unable to keep momentum when the final round started a few hours later.
“If I could take a few shots back, I’d probably take back the drive on No. 16,” Scheffler said. “That would be the one I’d like to have back. But outside of that, I really fought hard today. Rory just played a really good round of golf. … He definitely deserved to win.”
Scheffler and Sungjae Im tied for second and each took home $5.75 million, sharing the combined second- and third-place prize money of $11.5 million.
Schauffele earned $4 million for his third-place finish. Max Homa and Justin Thomas tied for fifth and won $2.75 million apiece. Last-place Will Zalatoris, who withdrew from the 30-player field before the tournament, earned $500,000.