Stephan Jaeger holds off Scottie Scheffler, wins first PGA Tour title at 2024 Texas Children’s Houston Open

Stephan Jaeger spoke for nearly a minute about how impressive Scottie Scheffler’s recent run of play has been.

The 34-year-old German finished his play Friday during the second round of the 2024 Texas Children’s Houston Open, and while speaking with the media, he had plenty of positive things to say about the world No. 1.

Little did he know at the time, he would spend the next two days going toe-to-toe against him. It’s exactly what he wanted.

“Honestly, it’s fun to watch, right,” Jaeger said of Scheffler’s play. “It’s unorthodox in a sense and it’s … ball-striking-wise it’s really, really, really impressive what he’s doing week in, week out. To be that on, and your bad stuff be that good, is pretty impressive. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, he’s awesome, so I’m happy for him obviously.

“I’m going to try to beat his brains out this weekend.”

Jaeger could only sit and watch as Scheffler had a 5-foot putt to tie Jaeger on the 72nd hole Sunday. Scheffler missed, his first blemish from inside 7 feet on the greens all weekend.

Jaeger called his shot. He held off the world No. 1, carding nine straight pars on the back nine at Memorial Park Golf Course to capture his first PGA Tour title in his 135th start. Jaeger shot 12-under 268, finishing a shot ahead of Scheffler and defending champion Tony Finau, amongst others.

“It feels amazing,” Jaeger said. “I couldn’t have thought … dreamed up a better week to do it. Obviously playing Scottie last couple days, he’s been on a tear, so to kind of slay the dragon a little bit this week was amazing. He’s such a good dude, such a good player, I was just happy to play with him a couple days.”

On top of the victory, the win gives Jaeger a huge advantage to earning his spot in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. He will also take home $1,638,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points, but perhaps bigger than both of those is his invitation to compete in the Masters in two weeks.

For Scheffler, his putting performance on the 18th green this week was arguably the difference in him winning his third straight start. On Friday, Scheffler three-putted from 7 feet, where on the second putt he tried to quickly tap in from a couple of feet and the putt slipped past the hole, resulting in a double bogey.

Then on Sunday, he missed the birdie attempt that would’ve forced a playoff. 

“I didn’t think it was going to move very much and I tried to hit it straight and I feel like I started right in the middle and looked like it broke off pretty hard, so just a misread,” Scheffler said. “I put up a good fight, felt like I had some weird breaks this week. That’s kind of the thing, like it’s tough to describe, but obviously I’m a bit disappointed. I hit two or three really good shots into 18 to give myself a chance and I feel like I made the putt and I looked up and it was breaking off. So a bit disappointing, but Stephan played great this week, and he’s a deserving champion.”

Added Jaeger on Scheffler’s put: “Yeah, 100 percent. I expected him to make it, and I’m not mad at him for missing it.”

Scheffler’s next start will be at Augusta National, where he donned the green jacket in 2022.

Also finishing a shot back, Finau was the best in the field around the greens this week but one of the worst on them. Outside of his round Friday where he tied the tournament scoring record, he lost nearly 7.5 strokes on the greens the other three rounds but still managed a strong finish.

“Didn’t make a crucial putt when I really needed it,” Finau said. “That’s the game we play. But I was happy to finish with really solid shots down the last couple holes and just to birdie the last couple.”

Also finishing runner-up were Alejandro Tosti, Taylor Moore and Thomas Detry. Tosti was tied for the lead on the 18th hole, but a poor tee shot resulted in a bogey.

“I’m super happy. I dream about this, having this opportunity like today,” Tosti said. “It was of course the first one and I know that I’m going to have revenge and I’m going to be in this position many times.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek