Express & Star

Scottie Scheffler makes Players history as Aaron Rai finishes well

Scottie Scheffler overturned a five-shot deficit to become the first player to successfully defend the Players Championship in the tournament’s 50-year history – with former Shropshire & Herefordshire junior Aaron Rai also posting a solid finish.


Scheffler carded an eagle and six birdies in a flawless closing 64 at Sawgrass to finish 20 under par, a shot ahead of US Open champion Wyndham Clark, Open champion Brian Harman and Xander Schauffele.

Clark birdied the 16th and 17th to keep his hopes alive but agonisingly lipped out for another birdie on the last to force a play-off.

Overnight leader Schauffele paid the price for dropped shots on the 14th and 15th and also missed from seven feet for birdie on the treacherous 17th.

“It’s pretty special,” Scheffler said. “It’s something you don’t really get the opportunity to do very often.

“It’s tough enough to win one Players so to have it back-to-back is extremely special and I’m really thankful.

“I put up a good fight for four days, Teddy (Scott, his caddie) kept me in a good head space. We had a great finish yesterday, got off to a slow start today and then the hole-out on four kind of propelled us a little bit.

“I hit a lot of good shots today, did a lot of good things this week and it’s nice to come out on top.”

Rai finished in a tie for 35th after posting rounds of 71, 72, 68 and 71 across the tournament.

He recovered from a double bogey at the 14th in his final round by following up with birdies in 15 and 16 to finish alongside a host of players, including Tommy Fleetwood and Jason Day.