Scottie Scheffler becomes the first-ever back-to-back winner of the Players Championship

An incredible final hour of golf at The Players Championship ended with Scheffler atop the leaderboard

In the finest finish of the 2024 season to date, Scottie Scheffler posted a 64 in the final round of the Players Championship to defend his title and outlast defending Open champion Brian Harman, defending U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark, and defending Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele. Clark in particular gave Scheffler a scare, but in the end, the world No. 1 continued his run toward golf immortality.

The final hour of the tournament was some of the most tense golf in recent memory. Schauffele, Scheffler, Clark and Harman all scrambled their way to the top of the leaderboard, leaving the outcome in doubt with just a handful of holes to play.

Scheffler was the biggest mover of the day; the defending champion rode an 8-under round to snag the lead heading into the clubhouse. For a brief moment late in the round, Schauffele — the 54-hole leader — and Scheffler shared the lead at 20-under. On the Island Green at 17, Scheffler, playing several holes ahead of his competition, faced a 48-foot putt for birdie, and rolled the ball to within 10 inches to walk off the green with a par and the lead by a stroke.

Behind him, Schauffele bogeyed the 14th after flying the green, chunking his approach shot and failing to roll in a long par putt to drop one stroke behind Scheffler. He bogeyed 15 as well, his first back-to-back bogeys of the week, and dropped to 18-under.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 17: Scottie Scheffler of the United States follows his shot from the 15th tee during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass on March 17, 2024 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Scottie Scheffler stands alone atop the leaderboad at the Players Championship. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) (Jared C. Tilton via Getty Images)

Harman, playing the pairing right ahead of Schauffele, birdied 15 to get within a stroke of Scheffler's 20-under lead. But then Harman put his tee shot on the 16th into the pine straw to the left of the fairway.

On 18, Scheffler's putt for birdie just slid past the hole, leaving him a short putt for par and the clubhouse lead. That left Harman one stroke back and Schauffee two back with three holes to play. Harman wasn't able to take advantage of 16, the final par 5 of the course, parring it to remain one stroke back. Schauffele left his eagle putt on 16 just short, tapping in for birdie to close to within a stroke of Scheffler with two to play.

On the Island Green, Harman's birdie putt — which would have tied him for the lead — wasn't close, leaving him at 19-under. Schauffele's tee shot on 17 rolled to inside seven feet of the cup, and Clark, who had played himself out of the lead earlier in the tournament, was even closer than Schauffele. But Schauffele's putt didn't break the way he thought it would, leaving him at 19-under. But Clark didn't miss.

That left three players on the par-4 18th hole at 19-under — Harman, Schauffele and Clark — each needing a birdie to force a playoff with Scheffler. Harman, the first to play, found the green in two strokes, and faced a 17-foot putt for birdie. The putt edged just left of the hole, eliminating Harman from the hunt.

Behind him, Clark's tee shot settled in the fairway, while Schauffele's sped on into the pine straw. Clark's approach ended up just on the edge of the green, about 17 feet away, while Schauffele's was much more distant, at 61 feet from the cup. As Scheffler stayed warm on the range for a possible playoff, Schauffele settled in for his long putt ... which was a beautiful but ultimately offline shot.

That left Clark as the one player with the opportunity to catch Scheffler ... and the putt looped all the way around the cup and popped back out again:

Scheffler claimed the title while standing on the range, a magnificent finish and further proof of just how strong Scheffler is right now.