Scottie Scheffler Defends Phoenix Open Title And Moves Top Of World Rankings

Scheffler carded a final round 65 to secure a two shot win and move back to the World No.1 spot

Scheffler hugs his caddie as he celebrates his victory
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Going into the final day, you would have been forgiven for thinking that the Waste Management Phoenix Open was going to be a straight shoot-out between the World No.2 Scottie Scheffler, and World No.3, Jon Rahm. Although that was partly true, it was actually World No. 223, Nick Taylor, who fought it out with Scheffler on Sunday.

In typical WM Phoenix Open fashion, it was an enthralling final round and, thanks to a timely eagle on the back nine, it was American, Scheffler, who came out on top, as he defended his title and picked up a fifth PGA Tour title in exactly a year!

Beginning on Sunday, Scheffler held a two shot lead over Rahm and Taylor but, after the first hole, that advantage was halved, with both men finding birdies at the opening hole.

Throughout the day, Scheffler's advantage remained intact, just, as the Masters champion found birdies at the second and third, with a birdie at the ninth closing out his front nine. Although he was three-under for the day, he only just held a one shot advantage over the Canadian, Taylor.

One hole later though and the lead vanished at TPC Scottsdale, with Taylor's superb performance against both Scheffler and Rahm extremely admirable as he birdied the 10th hole. However, Scheffler loves this tournament and, at the par 5 13th, he struck two shots onto the green and followed it up with an eagle putt. The lead was now one as Taylor followed him in with a birdie.

Pars followed and, at the iconic par 3 16th hole, a huge par save, as Scheffler managed to get up-and-down after short-siding himself from his tee shot. That incredible up-and-down was capitalized on as Taylor, Scheffler's nearest challenger, missed his putt for par. Advantage now two...

Taylor waves to the crowd as he walks in a putt

Taylor secured $2.2 million for his second place finish

(Image credit: Getty Images)

With some breathing space, the lead was increased further, as Taylor's birdie putt on the 17th did a full 360° of the hole, failing to drop in circumstances that even caused Scheffler to put his hand to his mouth in despair. Seeing his nearest challenger miss, the American rolled in his birdie putt to extend the advantage to three.

As he walked down the 72nd hole, the title was all but his and, even though Taylor found a birdie to card his biggest pay day to date, it was left to Scheffler to tap in and claim a fifth PGA Tour title and move back to the World No.1 spot.

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x