SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Nick Taylor scored an emotional victory last year at the Canadian Open, capped by an unforgettable tackle.
The 35-year-old Canadian created more memories at the Phoenix Open with a massive rally to defeat Charley Hoffman.
Taylor rallied from three down with four holes remaining in regulation and sank an 11-foot birdie putt to beat Hoffman on the second playoff hole Sunday, capping another wild week at the Phoenix Open.
“The ending was pretty dreamlike and hitting all those putts was a lot of fun,” Taylor said. “The atmosphere was incredible all week.”
Taylor capitalized on it late in his round after working in ideal scoring conditions for most of the afternoon. He found rhythm at just the right time, closing out a 6-under 65 with a 9-foot birdie putt at the par-4 18th to force a playoff. He and Hoffman, 47, finished at 21-under 263.
Both players birdied the extra hole and hit the No. 18 green a second time – Taylor from the right rough, Hoffman from the left fairway bunker. Hoffman left his putt short and Taylor birdied for the third time in less than an hour as the sun dipped below the horizon.
“I haven’t really faltered, so I have to give credit to Nick,” said Hoffman, who hasn’t won on tour since 2016 and has dealt with back issues in recent years. “He birdied four of the last five holes he played. Hats off to you for doing that. »
Taylor won his fourth PGA Tour title to end a chaotic week of weather delays and the rare decision to close the gates – and, gulp, halt alcohol sales – when things started to get out of control on Saturday.
Taking advantage of the first pleasant day of the week in the desert, Hoffman entered contention by finishing a 64 at TPC Scottsdale Stadium in the morning to complete his weather-delayed third round.
Hoffman was 4 under through a three-hole stretch on the back nine and had a three-shot lead when he finished a second straight 64.
Taylor wouldn’t let him win the trophy just yet.
He had an emotional finish to the 2023 Canadian Open, sinking a 72-foot eagle putt on the fourth playoff hole to become the first Canadian in 69 years to win his national open.
The victory became even more memorable when a security guard tackled Adam Hadwin, Taylor’s friend and compatriot, as he rushed onto the green to celebrate.
Hadwin was there to congratulate Taylor again in the desert, but managed to stay standing this time.
“He was wearing the same outfit, but luckily he wasn’t approached by a security guard,” Taylor said.
Taylor prevailed with a course-record 60 in the first round, his five-shot lead matching the largest after 18 holes on the PGA Tour since 1983.
Taylor completed a third-round 68 in the morning, but stalled after a birdie at No. 9. He came alive with back-to-back birdies starting at No. 15 and finished with a trio of three birdies at 18 after narrowly missed a birdie. putt on No. 17.
“That 18th tee shot has given me problems in the past,” said Taylor, runner-up to Scottie Scheffler last year in the event. “Making three pretty good ones and birdie three times is incredible. »
Scheffler, the two-time defending champion, entered contention with five straight birdies to finish his third round, shooting 66 in the morning despite moving the green into a bunker for bogey on No. 18.
The world number one briefly held the lead early in the final round before his putter went cold, ending his bid for the first PGA Tour three-peat in 13 years. Scheffler nearly aced the par-3 16th hole at Stadium, but was too far behind to catch Hoffman. He shot 66 to tie Sam Burns for third at 18 under.
“I would say I’m a little frustrated,” Scheffler said. “I didn’t really finish the way I wanted to, but I gave myself a good chance this week.”
So did Taylor – and he finished.
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