MIAMI: American Scottie Scheffler returned to number one in the world rankings on Sunday after winning The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass by five strokes.
Scheffler ran away with the US PGA Tour showdown at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, after making five straight birdies between the eighth and 12th holes while his top rival fell away.
The defending Masters champion will replace Spain's Jon Rahm atop the rankings on Monday. Rahm withdrew from the event due to illness.
Scheffler began the day with a two-stroke lead over Australian Min Woo Lee, who immediately reduced the deficit with a birdie on the opening hole.
When Scheffler bogeyed the third, the pair were in a tie for the lead but it was soon to change dramatically when Lee had a nightmare on the fourth hole, where he made a triple bogey.
A double bogey on the 11th saw Lee fall totally out of contention and by then Scheffler was in his groove and moving away from the field.
It was a victory procession for Scheffler over the final holes but he crowned his victory with a superb 21-foot putt on the 18th before soaking up the applause.
England's Tyrrell Hatton finished second after a sensational close with five straight birdies to complete the back nine in 29, the lowest score on the back section in a final round.
Hatton ended on 12-under par after his 65 with Norway's Viktor Hovland and American Tom Hoge tied for third, a further two strokes back. -- AFP