WM Phoenix Open: Scottie Scheffler defends title, retakes No. 1 ranking with 2-shot win

Scotty Scheffler at the WM Phoenix Open
Scotty Sheffler ran away from the WM Phoenix Open for the second year in a row. (Step Chambers/Getty Images)

Where it all began, Scotty Scheffler is once again the best golfer in the world.

Scheffler, after a close battle with Nick Taylor, took the lead at TPC Scottsdale early Sunday to take a double win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. This win not only marks his second straight win in the tournament, but also allows him to pass Rory McIlroy for first place in the official world golf rankings.

“I’m just proud of the way I fought today,” Scheffler said on CBS. “I didn’t have my best things. Today I polished them. I wasn’t very good at teeing, the irons weren’t that sharp, but I played a great round of golf today.”

Scheffler started Sunday with a two-shot lead after going 3-68 on Saturday. Taylor and John Rahm, who also had an opportunity to reclaim the top spot in OWGR, were down 11 in the week after 54 holes.

Scheffler opened Sunday with two birdies on his first three holes, then took the lead with one hit to the back nine after a clutch on the ninth. As Ram stumbled, Taylor began to push Scheffler. Taylor hit five birdies on his first 10 holes of the day and equalized as the two reached par-5 13. Scheffler then hit his second shot about 22 feet from the bowl and drilled expertly into an eagle putt to regain the solo lead with only five holes left.

After a couple of pars, Scheffler missed the green on the iconic par-3 16 and landed far behind on the rough. Luckily for Scheffler, both Taylor and Ram missed the green too.

Scheffler saved his score with an impressive up-and-down shot that sent the stadium crowd into a frenzy. Taylor’s pair shot was also a wide right, pushing Scheffler into a two-stroke lead with two holes left.

“It was a big hit,” Scheffler said on CBS. “I am very grateful. It looked like it would be short for a while. That beat was very fast, it just kept going… It was definitely a lot of fun to watch. “

Scheffler backed this save with a birdie on the 17th and then flew through the final hole to win by two shots.

Taylor finished second solo at 17 in the week after being 6th short with a birdie in last the same day. Ram was three shots behind Taylor at the age of 14. Justin Thomas moved up to fourth after his best round of the week. He scored 6 points to 65 and moved up 12 spots on the leaderboard, one spot ahead of Jason Day.

Scheffler took his first career win in Arizona last year and it led to his breakthrough year on the Tour. He won four times last season, including the Masters, and finished in the top 10 11 times. Scheffler also placed second at the US Open and Tour Championship.

Scheffler held the top spot in the OWGR until the CJ Cup in South Carolina earlier this season, but has since been only one spot behind McIlroy. Now with one West Coast Swing event left on the tour and about two months before the Masters, Scheffler is back at the top of the sport.


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