Scottie Scheffler repeated himself, in more ways than one.
The 26-year-old Scheffler closed with a bogey-free, six-under-par 65 and pulled away from Nick Taylor of Canada down the stretch to win the WM Phoenix Open for the second straight year on the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, and regain the No. 1 spot in the World Golf Rankings.
“I don’t know how to put in into words,” said Scheffler, who claimed his first victory since the Masters last April. “I’m just proud of the way I fought and played all day because I felt like I didn’t have my best stuff, but I was able to grind it out and get the job done.
“That was a huge putt I made for par on No. 16, especially because I thought it was going to be short, but it was a little downhill and just kept going until it went in. To see that putt go in felt really good.
“I felt like I struggled with my driver today, hit a few wild ones off the tee, but made up for it with my putting. Nick played fantastic, gave me a great battle and I didn’t feel like I had it wrapped up until I had about a six-inch putt left on the last hole. That was a nice way to finish.
“Any time you win, it’s a great feeling.
Scheffler, who went on to win four times last season after claiming his first PGA Tour victory in this event, took the lead for good with a 22-foot eagle putt at No. 13, made that clutch 15-footer for par three holes later and added a five-foot birdie putt on No. 17 to finish 72 holes at 19-under 265.
By winning, Scheffler became the eighth back-to-back champion in WM Phoenix Open history and the first since Hideki Matsuyama of Japan in 2016 and 2017. The others include Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Johnny Miller, Lloyd Mangrum and Ed Oliver.
Taylor, whose two PGA Tour victories came in the 2015 Sanderson Farms Championship and the 2020 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, stayed right with Scheffler, who took a two-stroke lead to the final round. The Canadian made birdies on five of the first 10 holes and added one more at No. 13 before making his one bogey at No. 16 in another 65.
Third-ranked Jon Rahm, who had won four of his previous seven starts, also was two back starting the final round but his five birdies were offset by two bogeys and his 68 left him five down in third, followed by ninth-ranked Justin Thomas, who was another shot behind after making four birdies on the last five holes in a 65, and Jason Day, who was seven shots down after making birdies on the first three holes en route to a 68.
Sam Burns totaled 68 and finished eight back in a tie for sixth with Sungjae Im of South Korea and Tyrrell Hatton of England, who both wound up at 69, and Jordan Spieth, who could manage only a 70.
Sixth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State eagled No. 3 in a second straight 70 and wound up nine behind in a tie for 10th with Wyndham Clark, who shot 69, Adam Hadwin of Canada, who had a 71, and Rickie Fowler, who made a hole in one with a seven iron from 216 yards on the sixth hole en route to a 70.
Tenth-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick posted a bogey-free 65 and tied for 29th, while Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who will lose his No. 1 ranking to Scheffler this week, birdied the last hole for a second straight 70 to tie for 32nd.
The PGA Tour will wrap up its West Coast Swing this week with the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, the Los Angeles-area event where tournament host Tiger Woods will make his second debut.
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