Scheffler repeats at Phoenix Open to regain No. 1 ranking as Canada’s Taylor cashes in

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 11: Nick Taylor of Canada takes his golf ball out of the cup on the 18th green during the third round of the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 11, 2023 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – 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 65 to beat Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., by two strokes on the Stadium Course. The 26-year-old Texan took the No. 1 ranking from Rory McIlroy with his fifth PGA Tour victory.

Taylor earned US$2.18 million for finishing runner-up at the lucrative event, which easily his largest single-tournament payday. He entered the weekend with total earnings of $9.1 million for his career that includes two PGA titles.

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

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 when he rolled in a 15-footer for par after hitting his tee shot far left on the stadium hole.

Scheffler birdied the par-4 17th with a 5-foot putt and closed with a par to finish at 19-under 265. He earned $3.6 million from the $20 million purse in the second of the PGA Tour’s new designated events, created to bring the top players together more often.

Scheffler became 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.

Adam Hadwin, also from Abbotsford, finished in a tie for 10th at 10 under. He entered the final round three shots off the lead but finished with a final round of even par.

Jon Rahm, the former Arizona State star 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.

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. The 2019 winner had a hole-in-one on the par-3 seventh, using a 6-iron in the 216-yard hole.

McIlroy closed with a 70 to tie for 32nd at 4 under.