Leader Scottie Scheffler is relishing a "great fight" for a maiden major victory at The Masters on Sunday.

World number one Scheffler holds a three-shot lead over Cameron Smith heading into the final round at Augusta.

The 25-year-old bogeyed four of the final seven holes in his third round on Saturday and did well to only drop one shot at 18 after taking a one-stroke penalty following a poor tee shot.

Scheffler will tee off at nine under with a first major triumph in his sights and the American is looking forward to the challenge.

He said: "It should be a great fight. Obviously Cam is a tremendous player, and he's got a fantastic short game, and he's coming off a huge win at The Players.

"Both of us are in good form, so I'm definitely looking forward to the challenge of playing with him tomorrow.

He added: "Little bit of different conditions on the golf course. I'm sure they will keep the green nice and firm, but the wind will be a little lighter. I'm not sure how much lighter it will be, but I think we are both looking forward to the test and the challenge.

"Playing in the final group is always so much fun, so I'm looking forward to it."

Australian Smith knows there will be no margin for error in his final round as he also eyes a first major title.

Asked what it will take for him to win, he replied: "Shoot the lowest score out there again tomorrow probably. No, I think preparation. I think it's not going to be as windy tomorrow.

"Typically here on Sunday, especially the back nine, you can use plenty of greens to your advantage and have plenty of birdie opportunities.

"Again, just stay aggressive into the greens and just keep hitting quality shots."

Sungjae Im is five shots adrift of Scheffler in third place, with Shane Lowry and Charl Schwartzel a further two strokes back.

Scottie Scheffler will head into the final round of the Masters with a three-stroke lead from Cameron Smith, after a volatile back nine on Saturday at Augusta National.

The world number one opened moving day with a five-shot lead, and charged out the gate on Saturday with four birdies over the opening nine holes.

Seeking his first major title, Scheffler then delivered three bogeys on four holes on the back nine, before taking a penalty for an unplayable lie on the par-four 18th.

Yet he salvaged what could have been an even worse outcome, gambling with a long iron and making a tricky up-and-down to finish with just a bogey and an eventual one-under 71.

In windy and icy conditions at Augusta, Smith emerged as the likeliest challenger with a second four-under 68 to finish Saturday on six-under-par.

The Australian world number six will be paired with Scheffler despite trailing by seven shots midway through the third round, claiming three birdies in six holes on the back nine.

Like Scheffler, Smith also skewed his tee shot into the trees on the 18th, but was eventually able to scramble for par.

Smith's Presidents Cup teammate Im Sung-jae is in outright third, shooting a one-under-par 71 in the third round.

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods' six-over-par 78 was his worst in 93 rounds over his career at Augusta, leaving him at seven-over-par.

Scottie Scheffler made a superb start to the third round of the Masters to extend his lead to six shots on Saturday.

The mission for the chasing pack was clear going into moving day at Augusta National: chase down the world number one, who ended day two with a five-stroke lead.

But Scheffler, seeking his first major title, made that task even harder with four birdies on the front nine.

After saving par at a tricky first hole, Scheffler produced a stunning second shot at the 575-yard second to put him on the edge of the green.

He chipped to four feet to set up a simple birdie, which was followed by another gain at the third following a superb approach shot to eight feet to move to 10 under par.

A dropped shot at the fourth gave hope to his prospective challengers, but that stroke was clawed back courtesy of an excellent 17-foot putt at the sixth.

He chipped to six feet for another gain at the eighth to improve to 11 under, with a par at the ninth leaving Cameron Smith as his closest challenger at five under through 12.

Scottie Scheffler admitted to having some fortune after windy conditions that had caused many players to struggle on day two of the Masters died down for him later in his round of 67.

The world number one established a five-shot lead at Augusta after shooting a five-under round for the day, a total matched only by Justin Thomas on Friday.

Scheffler sits well ahead of the chasing pack, with previous overnight leader Im Sung-jae, Charl Schwartzel, Shane Lowry and reigning champion Hideki Matsuyama all on three under par.

Speaking after his round, the 25-year-old exclaimed his happiness with his game, saying: "I feel like my game is in a good spot. I've done a good job managing my way around the golf course the last two days, and I've made some really nice up and downs and key putts that have kept my rounds going.

"I've kept my cards pretty clean for the most part, which is nice."

When asked about the pressure of holding the lead at Augusta, Scheffler added: "If anything, it gives me more confidence. Once I saw that I took the lead at one point today, and my first thought was to just keep trying to build it just because I feel like I'm playing well.

"That will be the goal going into tomorrow, just to keep putting myself in good positions, execute shots, and as long as I'm committed to everything, everything should be fine. The rest really isn't up to me."

Scheffler was among many players to comment on the windy conditions, but did admit that after it had died down, it allowed him to make a strong finish, birdieing four of his last seven holes.

"To be completely honest, the front nine was such a grind," he said. "The wind was crazy. There was some times where we saw the sand blowing up out of the bunkers out there. It was ridiculous.

"I think we were a little bit fortunate that it did die down a little bit towards the end of the day. It was still gusty, but you were able to find some spots where, for instance, on 16 I almost didn't even play any wind. We were definitely fortunate in that sense, but we were also playing in some pretty aggressive winds at the beginning of the round."

World number one Scottie Scheffler leads the Masters by five shots after a strong showing on a windy second day at Augusta.

Scheffler carded a five-under 67 to move to eight under for the tournament, ahead of four players in the chasing pack on three under.

After a woeful start to his second round, bogeying four of the first five holes, Tiger Woods recovered to card 74 for the day, tied for 19th on one over par, at least ensuring he will be back for the weekend.

The leader heading into the second round, Im Sung-jae, was unable to repeat his Thursday heroics but remains in the mix after his round of 74 left him among those tied for second with Charl Schwartzel, Shane Lowry and reigning champion Hideki Matsuyama.

Several big names did miss the cut, with Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka finishing on six over par after two rounds, Xander Schauffele on seven over, Justin Rose eight over and Bryson DeChambeau 10 over.

Shot of the day

An honourable mention to Woods and Lowry for tremendous second shots at 10, but there can only be one winner on Friday as Stewart Cink pulled off a crowd-pleasing hole-in-one at the 16th.

The 48-year-old ultimately missed the cut, finishing on seven over par, but hitting his tee shot on 16 to the right of the hole, only for the ball to roll back and into the cup led to the appropriate whooping from the fans and hugging from Cink's caddie, who also happened to be his son Reagan.

Player of the day

Lowry impressed with his four-under round for the day, but there is no looking past Scheffler, who dominated day two in Augusta.

The 25-year-old made seven birdies for his five-under round of 67, the joint-best of the day with Justin Thomas, following his 69 from Thursday and giving him a big lead going into Saturday.

Scheffler was already in the lead when he put his foot on the accelerator after the turn, making birdies on four of his last seven holes.

 

Chipping in

Collin Morikawa on Tiger: "I've never heard roars like that [on Thursday]. Especially at Augusta when everything kind of echoes a little bit more. I think we were walking down six, and [Dustin Johnson] and I heard that Tiger I think made birdie, and you can hear that. There's nothing like it."

Schwartzel on his mindset: "I think that's where I've been going wrong. Mind is too active, and I really worked hard in staying in the present and just trying to execute a golf shot and not to worry about what can go wrong because I've been playing too much golf thinking of what can go wrong."

Cink on whether he would be getting his son Reagan, who also caddied for him on his birthday, a present: "I already got him the hole-in-one. That's the extent of my birthday present. I gave him the ball. That should be enough, right?"

A little birdie told me

- Scheffler's five-stroke margin ties the largest 36-hole lead in Masters history.

- Woods maintains his 100 per cent record of making the cut at the Masters (22 out of 22). He has secured a top five place in 57 per cent of his previous 21 appearances (12), winning the title on five occasions.

- Cink's hole-in-one was the 34th in Masters history, though 16 is by far the most popular hole for aces at Augusta, with 24 being made there.

Tiger Woods looked in good health in his return to The Masters, but it is Im Sung-jae who stands alone atop the leaderboard after the first round at Augusta National.

In Woods' first competitive round since The Masters in 2020, the legend finished with three birdies – on the sixth, 13th and 16th – as well as two bogeys, on the eighth and 14th holes.

South Korea's Im produced the round of the day, birdieing the first three holes on his way to five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on 13 to finish at five under.

Smith, who recently won The Players Championship, finished one shot off the lead and outright second at four under, despite bookending his round with double-bogeys on both the first and the 18th, with eight birdies in between.

World number one Scottie Scheffler nearly went bogey-free, but a slip-up on 18 saw him finish two shots off the pace at three under. 

It was a similar story for Dustin Johnson, who birdied four of his first 10 holes before dropping a shot on the 17th to finish tied with Scheffler, as well as Chile's Joaquin Niemann and England's Danny Willett in a tie for third.

Patrick Cantlay and Canadian Corey Conners highlight the small group tied for seventh at two under, while Tony Finau, Webb Simpson and former runner-up Will Zalatoris are one further back, tied with Woods for 10th.

A decorated group finished at even par, including Hideki Matsuyama and Sergio Garcia, as well as Victor Hovland, who had five birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey.

A pair of big names shot 73 for a one over finish in Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy, while plenty of notable stars were a further shot back.

Bookmakers' favourite Jon Rahm was uncharacteristically off his game, with four bogeys and two birdies to finish at two over along with Max Homa, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott.

Brooks Koepka was two under through nine holes, but three consecutive bogeys on 11, 12 and 13 drained his confidence, eventually finishing three over.

Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Thomas had a day to forget at four over.

Tiger Woods looked in good health in his return to The Masters, but it is Sungjae Im who stands alone atop the leaderboard after the first round at Augusta National.

In Woods' first competitive round since The Masters in 2020, the legend finished with three birdies – on the sixth, 13th and 16th – as well as two bogeys, on the eighth and 14th holes.

South Korea's Im produced the round of the day, birdieing the first three holes on his way to five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on 13 to finish at five under.

Smith, who recently won The Players Championship, finished one shot off the lead and outright second at four under, despite bookending his round with double-bogeys on both the first and the 18th, with eight birdies in between.

World number one Scottie Scheffler nearly went bogey-free, but a slip-up on 18 saw him finish two shots off the pace at three under. 

It was a similar story for Dustin Johnson, who birdied four of his first 10 holes before dropping a shot on the 17th to finish tied with Scheffler, as well as Chile's Joaquin Niemann and England's Danny Willett in a tie for third.

Patrick Cantlay and Canadian Corey Conners highlight the small group tied for seventh at two under, while Tony Finau, Webb Simpson and former runner-up Will Zalatoris are one further back, tied with Woods for 10th.

A decorated group finished at even par, including Hideki Matsuyama and Sergio Garcia, as well as Victor Hovland, who had five birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey.

A pair of big names shot 73 for a one over finish in Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy, while plenty of notable stars were a further shot back.

Bookmakers' favourite Jon Rahm was uncharacteristically off his game, with four bogeys and two birdies to finish at two over along with Max Homa, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott.

Brooks Koepka was two under through nine holes, but three consecutive bogeys on 11, 12 and 13 drained his confidence, eventually finishing three over.

Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Thomas had a day to forget at four over.

Tiger Woods made an impressive start to his sensational Masters return before Dustin Johnson joined Cameron Smith in a share of the lead at Augusta.

Woods declared himself fit to make an incredible comeback at Augusta on Thursday, just over 13 months after suffering serious leg and foot injuries in a car accident.

The 15-time major champion did not resemble a player whose career could have been over last year as he carded a one-under 71 in his first competitive round for 508 days.

Woods was in a share of ninth place when he holed a putt for par at 18 following a wayward tee shot as he made up for lost time in Georgia, where he was given magnificent support from packed galleries.

The five-time winner of the green jacket went out in 36 after a brilliant tee shot gave him a simple task of rolling in a short birdie putt at the par-three sixth, before a first bogey at the eighth.

Legendary American Woods made further gains at holes 13 and 16 following a second dropped shot at 14, looking like he had never been away in a promising opening round.

Smith started and finished with a double bogey as he signed for a four-under 68.

The Australian had been three shots clear, but sliced his tee shot way at the last to the right, undoing some of the good work after making eight birdies.

World number one Scottie Scheffler joined Smith on four under when he made a fourth birdie at the penultimate hole, but bogeyed 18 to join Danny Willett and Joaquin Niemann one stroke off the pace.

Johnson ominously moved into a share of the lead with Smith when he made a fourth birdie of the day at the 10th under blue skies.

There is nothing in golf quite like The Masters.

Arguably the most prestigious of the majors, Augusta National becomes the centre of the sporting world once more over the weekend, as the famous green jacket goes up for grabs again.

In 1997, Tiger Woods won his first major when he triumphed in Georgia, and 25 years on he is set to make a sensational comeback from injury.

But Woods is not the only name to look out for.

 

The favourites

Let's start from the top. Scottie Scheffler is the world's new number one and he heads into the weekend on the back of three victories in his last five events, having not finished worse than T-19th in his six major appearances since 2020.

Scheffler said he has been resting up at home ahead of travelling to Augusta, where he joked he has already been brought down a peg or two.

He told Sky Sports: "I've been humbled a couple of times already, showing up here. The guy who picked me up in the cart this morning called me Xander, so that brought me down to earth real quick! It's been great, really looking forward to this week."

The Xander in question is Xander Schauffele. He finished T3 last year, three shots back from the champion Hideki Matsuyama, and was looking good on his final round until he sent a ball into the water on the 16th, but he won gold at the Tokyo Olympics and comes into the tournament in strong form.

Reigning champion Matsuyama cast doubt over his participation when he withdrew from the Texas Open with a neck problem, meanwhile, which may hinder his title defence.

 

Brooks Koepka has won four majors, but did not make the cut last year and will be out to put that right this time around, having defeated Jon Rahm in the WGC-Match Play last 16. 

Rahm has finished in the top 10 in each of his last four Masters appearances. However, the Spaniard has not won a tournament since triumphing in the US Open last year, but did secure a place in the top 10 in all four of last year's majors.

Dustin Johnson failed to make the cut in 2021 in a torrid title defence. He had dropped out of the top 10 up until an impressive performance at the WGC-Match Play moved him up to number eight, and he'll be determined to rekindle the form that saw him clinch the green jacket in 2020.

Viktor Hovland is ranked fourth in the world, though his weak chipping game may prove costly to his chances at Augusta, while Collin Morikawa cannot be discounted for a third major title and Justin Thomas will be out to win a second major having won the US PGA Championship in 2017.

 

The outsiders

Augusta is where golfers can shoot to stardom over the course of four spectacular days, and there will be plenty of the field who fancy their chances despite not being among the bookmakers' favourites.

One such player capable of a challenge is Cameron Smith. The Australian is ranked at a career-high six, won the Players' Championship last month and has finished inside the top 10 in three of the last four Masters.

Will Zalatoris, meanwhile, comes into the weekend with the best SG (strokes gained, which compares a player's score to the field average) tee-to-green* statistics on the PGA Tour this season, with his 1.767 average just edging out Thomas, and he came second on his Masters debut in 2021.

Zalatoris only has one pro win to his name so far but the 25-year-old has largely impressed at the majors. He finished T2 in 2021 at Augusta and T8 in last year's PGA Championship, while recording a T6 finish in the 2020 US Open.

Rory McIlroy's Masters record is frustrating. It is the only major the former world number one has not yet won. He finished in the top 10 six times between 2014 and 2020 before missing the cut last year, and now he'll have another stab at sealing a career Grand Slam, though his best finish this season has been third in the Dubai Desert Classic.

 

Only five players have previously completed a clean sweep of the majors, and McIlroy has not won one of the big four events since 2014.

Russell Henley will feature for the first time since 2018 after 12 top 10 finishes in the past year, and he has finished in the top 25 at Augusta three times, while Bryson DeChambeau is going to compete despite missing a chunk of the season with a hip problem. He finished T46 on three-over-par in 2021.

Marc Leishman finished fifth a year ago, improving on T13 from 2020, and Sergio Garcia will at least hope to make the cut for the first time since he won in 2017. Perhaps if the Spaniard can just make the weekend, he can go all the way again?

 

The return of the king

As far as comeback stories go in sport, Woods has already provided one of the very best.

In 2019, against all odds following years of back issues and surgery to fix the problems, Woods won The Masters for a fifth time in his illustrious career, taking his total of major victories to 15. He trails only Jack Nicklaus in that regard.

But this comeback might just top the lot.

The 46-year-old admitted he cheated death in a major single-car crash in February 2021, which left him with serious leg and foot injuries. Woods was unable to walk unaided for several months and has not played serious golf since, but he is all set for a remarkable return on the biggest stage of them all.

It will be his first appearance in any tournament since he played at Augusta in November 2020. Since winning his maiden major a quarter of a century ago, Woods has claimed nine more major titles than any other player, while he is one of only three players to win successive Masters titles (2001 and 2002).

Woods has never failed to make the cut in 21 appearances, and even if he does not challenge at the top of the leaderboard this time around (though you would not put it past him) his comeback is already the story of the weekend.

 

After two years of disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, things are back to normal at Augusta National for this year's much-anticipated Masters – though choosing a winner is as tough as ever.

Dustin Johnson won the delayed 2020 event with a record score after it was pushed back by seven months from its usual slot, while Hideki Matsuyama made history of his own last year by becoming the first Japanese male to win a major.

Matsuyama's triumph was a memorable one, albeit with only a limited number of patrons present in Georgia due to social distancing measures being in place, though the build-up to his title defence has been far from ideal as he continues to battle a back injury.

Golf's elite can look forward to the return of spectators for the 86th edition of the most prestigious tournament of them all – and if excitement was not already at fever pitch, Augusta could also see the return of Tiger Woods, who has not played on the PGA Tour since November 2020 after being involved in a car accident.

But exactly who is best placed to claim the green jacket in the first major of the year? The expert team at Stats Perform have a go at answering that question ahead of the tee off on Thursday.

RAHM TO ADD TO US OPEN SUCCESS – Daniel Lewis

Despite being usurped by Scottie Scheffler at the top of the Official World Golf Ranking after an admittedly slow start to the year, Jon Rahm remains the man to beat heading into the Masters. The 27-year-old has posted top-four finishes in each major, while also finishing inside the top 10 in each of his last five participations. Following his success at the US Open at Torrey Pines 10 months ago, this is Rahm's time to shine at Augusta. 

SMITH TO GO ONE BETTER THAN 2020 – Patric Ridge

Less than a month on from his triumph at the Players' Championship, world number six Cameron Smith seems well placed to go on and seal a maiden major triumph. The Australian finished T2 at Augusta in 2020, albeit five strokes back from Johnson. But he comes into this tournament ranked higher than ever before in his career, and the 28-year-old has won two of the five events he has featured in this year. A T10 placing in last year's Masters will have been a disappointment, but Smith has the tools, and the form, to challenge this time around.

GOOD WILL HUNTING FOR GREEN JACKET – Peter Hanson

A year ago, you could be forgiven for not knowing a lot about Will Zalatoris. But the then 24-year-old finished just one stroke shy of eventual winner Matsuyama, and his clean ball striking will be a big advantage on a typically unforgiving Augusta course. Voted PGA Tour Rookie of the Year for 2021, Zalatoris has three top-10 finishes in 2022, including losing a play-off to Luke List at the Farmers Insurance Open. And how about this if you want more persuading: eight of the past 10 Masters champions were at 1.7 or better strokes gained tee to green in the three months leading into the Masters. Zalatoris is one of eight players who meet that criteria heading into the 2022 instalment.

DON'T BE A-DOUBTING THOMAS, BACK JUSTIN – John Skilbeck

Until his challenged fizzled out over the weekend last year, when he went from only three shots back to finish tied for 21st place, Justin Thomas was following a trajectory that seemed sure to lead to Masters glory. His record showed year-on-year progress, going from a tie for 39th in 2016, to a tie for 22nd a year later, then tied 17th in 2017, tied 12th in 2019, and fourth outright in 2020. Amid this, he won the 2017 US PGA Championship, and Thomas is too good a player to sit too long on just one major. He has the second-lowest scoring average this season on the PGA Tour, has three top-10 finishes in the past two months, and Augusta practice rounds with his great friend Tiger Woods can hardly have hindered his cause.

TIGER... JUST IMAGINE! – Russell Greaves

Lazarus was a one-trick pony, but if Woods were to win the Masters again it would constitute the second bona fide sporting miracle of his remarkable career. Woods' triumph in 2019 – his fifth at Augusta National – was his 15th major success, coming 11 years after his previous one. He became only the third golfer over 40 to win a major on US soil, joining Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson. Now 46 and absent from competitive action since 2020 following his car accident, a win here would surpass anything Woods has ever achieved. He needs one more to equal Jack Nicklaus' six Masters titles, but would be putting a proud record on the line if he does choose to compete, as Woods has made the cut in each of his 21 appearances at this event.

World number one Scottie Scheffler has welcomed the possible participation of Tiger Woods at the Masters ahead of the start of the Augusta tournament.

Fifteen-time major winner Woods, who has triumphed five times at the tournament, has not played on the PGA Tour since failing to defend his 2019 Masters title in November 2020.

After undergoing back surgery the following month, the 46-year-old then sustained major injuries in a car accident in February last year.

However, some 25 years on from his first triumph at Augusta, the American was listed among the expected 91 participants for the Masters, which begins on Thursday.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Scheffler said when asked if the spectre of Woods had deflected attention: "I would say having Tiger anywhere deflects a lot of attention from any of us. It's definitely easier to fly under the radar and we're all excited, hopefully he can come out and play this week, it should be a fun week if he does."

Woods famously won the 2019 Masters after returning from multiple back surgeries.

Scheffler recently shot up the rankings from fifth to first after a series of tournament wins, including last month's WGC Match Play, but insists he will not take his new position for granted.

"I haven't had too much time to reflect, just been trying to get some rest at home," he said. "I've been working hard for my whole life to play out here on the PGA Tour and I've had some success recently. I'm very happy to have had that but I'm not going to take it for granted.

"I only checked it once [the ranking] and it was there! Number one was never something I looked for, you set milestones and really just getting into the top 50 so you can play in the majors, that's where you try to get to. After that you're really just playing tournaments. I've been fortunate to win a few recently."

The 25-year-old also revealed he is keeping his feet firmly grounded, assisted by an incident in which he was mistaken for world number 10, Xander Schauffele.

"I've been humbled a couple of times already, showing up here," he added. "The guy who picked me up in the cart this morning called me Xander, so that brought me down to earth real quick.

"It's been great, really looking forward to this week."

Scottie Scheffler is still coming to terms with his new status as the number one golfer in the world after victory in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play final on Sunday.

The 25-year-old was still waiting on his first PGA Tour win at the start of February but has sensationally come out on top in three of his five entries since.

His latest triumph, secured with a 4 and 3 win over Kevin Kisner in Austin, made him the 25th man to lead the Official World Golf Ranking since its inception in 1986.

Scheffler moved to 3 up by the sixth hole and scarcely looked in trouble throughout, ultimately sinking a putt for par on the 15th to claim victory.

Displacing Spain's Jon Rahm at the summit and with his family watching on from the side, the American acknowledged afterwards he was yet to truly realise the magnitude of his new status.

"[It is] pretty cool to do that in front of my family," Scheffler said. "They've supported me so much along the way, and I really don't know what to say about that.

"I don't feel like number one in the world. I feel like the same guy I was four months ago, and I hope that doesn't change. Yeah, I don't feel any different."

Scheffler came second in last year's WGC Match Play, losing 2 and 1 to Billy Horschel in a painful defeat that has since played on his mind.

"[There was] definitely a lot of emotion coming off the green," he said. "It's been kind of a crazy past few months.

"I got my first win in Phoenix, and then I guess this is my third now, and golly, what a long week.

"I really don't know how to describe the emotion. I've thought about winning this tournament ever since last year.

"It left kind of a poor taste in my mouth, getting so close and ultimately coming up short. So it feels really good to finish the job this time around."

Scottie Scheffler is the new number one-ranked golfer in the world after defeating Kevin Kisner 4 and 3 in the WGC Match Play final on Sunday.

The 25-year-old American has dethroned Spain's Jon Rahm to become only the 25th man to hold the top spot on the Official World Golf Ranking since its inception in 1986.

It is Scheffler's third professional tour win of the season, after triumphs at the Phoenix Open last month and the Arnold Palmer Invitational three weeks ago.

Kisner, the Match Play champion in 2019 when he beat Matt Kuchar 3 and 2, struggled to best his opponent, who went 1up off the second tee and subsequently never relinquished his lead.

Scheffler, who saw off a Dustin Johnson fightback to win 3 and 1 in the semi-finals, built a commanding early advantage through the sixth hole, emerging 3up with a dozen to play,

Neither man was able to get the better of the other until the 14th hole, when Scheffler shot a smart birdie against Kisner's bogey to move four up with just four holes remaining.

It left Kisner needing to win on the 15th to keep the match going, but the 38-year-old could not force the game on, and with just two putts needed for the title, Scheffler made no mistake on the green.

Scheffler, who had ranked fifth in the world heading into the Match Play, becomes the ninth American to top the men's world rankings, and the first new USA native to rank first since Brooks Koepka in 2018.

Elsewhere, Johnson missed out on a podium finish as the two-time major champion went down 3 and 1 to Corey Conners.

The Canadian held his nerve from the 12th hole onwards after dropping back to a two-hole lead to claim third place on the 17th hole with a birdie.

Scottie Scheffler survived a spirited fightback from Dustin Johnson to win 3 and 1 and reach the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play final, where he will meet Kevin Kisner on Sunday.

Johnson made it past Brooks Koepka in a heavyweight last-16 clash on Saturday, but struggled in the early stages against world number five Scheffler at the Austin Country Club.

Scheffler produced three birdies in his opening four holes to go 3up and furthered his advantage on the eighth and 11th to take a five-shot lead.

Two-time major winner Johnson responded by claiming the next four holes – with Scheffler finding the water when inexplicably attempting to hit the green on the short par-four 13th – to tee up a thrilling finale.

Johnson then squandered a presentable birdie opportunity at the par-five 16th to fall two behind again before Scheffler secured victory on the following hole to reach his second consecutive Match Play final.

Victory in the final would also see Scheffler move to the top of the world rankings if he can defeat Kisner, who came out on top in a topsy-turvy clash with Corey Conners in the other semi-final.

The pair could not be separated as they repeatedly exchanged the lead through 16 holes before Kisner nudged ahead with a birdie on the penultimate hole as Conners pushed his putt wide in response.

Kisner, who lifted the Match Play trophy in 2019, delivered an expert chip with his second shot on the 18th to close out victory and ensure he remains in the hunt for the title.

Dustin Johnson got the best of Brooks Koepka in a heavyweight matchup to finish 2 up in their WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play quarter-final.

After Johnson got through Richard Bland and Koepka made it past Jon Rahm earlier on Saturday, the two former major champions went all 18 holes before Johnson won the last to turn 1 up into 2 up and avoid a playoff.

It was a great start for Koepka, winning two of the first three holes, but Johnson found his touch going into the seventh and went on to claim four holes and tie the rest from that point.

Scottie Scheffler passed his test against Seamus Power with flying colours, winning three and two with a strong back-nine.

Winning two holes apiece on the front nine, it was all Scheffler down the stretch, including winning the two par fives (holes 12 and 16) by two strokes to wrap things up with a couple holes to spare.

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