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Scottie Scheffler closes out win in Phoenix Open, returns to top spot in world rankings

Scottie Scheffler celebrated his win with caddie Ted Scott on the 18th green.Maddie Meyer/Getty

Scottie Scheffler successfully defended his WM Phoenix Open title Sunday at TPC Scottsdale to regain the No. 1 spot in the world.

Scheffler closed with a 6-under-par 65 to beat Nick Taylor by two strokes in breezy conditions on the firm and fast Stadium Course in Arizona. The 26-year-old Texan will jump from second to first in the rankings, taking the top spot from Rory McIlroy with his fifth PGA Tour victory.

Scheffler made a 22-foot eagle putt on the par-5 13th to break a tie with Taylor, then took a two-shot lead on the par-3 16th with a 15-footer for par after hitting his tee shot far left on the stadium hole.


“I was just trying to hit a solid putt,” Scheffler said about the putt on 16. “In those situations that’s really all you can do. So, when I’m standing over that ball all I’m thinking about is the speed. I had my line.”

Scheffler birdied the short par-4 17th and closed with a par to finish at 19-under 265.

“I hit some wild shots off the tee that were pretty uncharacteristic for how I usually shape the ball,” Scheffler said. “I was just able to grind it out, make a lot of putts. I think I only had two bogeys this week, which is really, really good around this golf course.”

He earned $3.6 million from the $20 million purse in the second of the PGA Tour’s new designated events, created in response to LIV Golf to bring the top tour players together more often.

“There were a lot of guys up there,” Scheffler said. “I knew it was going to take a great round. Nobody was going to give this golf tournament to me. I had to go out and earn it.”

Last year, Scheffler beat Patrick Cantlay in a playoff for his first tour title. He added victories in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the WGC-Match Play and the Masters and was the PGA Tour’s player of the year.


“I love the environment here,” Scheffler said. “It’s a lot of fun to play. I think the firmness of the golf course really suits me. Having the ability to play a lot of different shots — hit it high, hit it low.”

He’s the seventh player to successfully defend a title in the tournament, following Ben Hogan (1946-47), Jimmy Demaret (1949-50), Lloyd Mangrum (1952-53), Arnold Palmer (three straight from 1961-63), Johnny Miller (1974-75) and Hideki Matsuyama (2016-17).

Taylor also finished with a 65. The Canadian bogeyed the 16th, missing a 7-footer after Scheffler holed his par putt. Taylor’s tee shot on the 175-yard 16th just caught the left edge and rolled away from the green.

“I really felt that was a great swing off the tee there,” Taylor said. “That wind was just crazy strong. I played enough for it, just obviously not quite enough. I would love the chip back on there. I felt like that was one I could potentially hole. It was still a tricky chip.”

Jon Rahm, who opened the year with consecutive victories in Hawaii and the California desert, was third at 14 under after a 68. He also was in position to take the No. 1 spot with a victory.

“I’m not sure I could have done much better the last two days, honestly,” Rahm said. “I didn’t feel like I made bad swings, but I put myself in bad spots.”


Justin Thomas was fourth at 13 under after a 65. Jason Day (68) followed at 12 under, and Jordan Speith (70) was another stroke back with Sam Burns (68), Sungjae Im (69), and Tyrrell Hatton (69).

Rickie Fowler was in the group at 10 under. McIlroy closed with a 70 to tie for 32nd at 4 under.

Europe — South Africa’s Ockie Strydom shot a 9-under 63 to power up the leaderboard and clinch the Singapore Classic by one stroke from Finland’s Sami Valimaki.

Strydom carded a final round of 63 — the best score of the final day at Laguna National Golf Resort Club — to finish at 19-under 269 for his second win on the European Tour after claiming the Alfred Dunhill championship in South Africa in December.

Valimaki, who started the final round two shots behind overnight leaders Wang Jeung-hun and Alejandro del Rey, shot a 6-under 66 to finish one stroke behind Strydom.

Wang and del Rey finished in a tie for third with Germany’s Marcel Schneider at 15-under 273.

McKibbin, a 20-year-old from Northern Ireland, who was the first-round leader after shooting a 64, finished in a tie for 11th at 13-under 275.