WM Phoenix Open 2023: Scheffler ascends to No. 1

WM Phoenix Open 2023: Scheffler ascends to No. 1

Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid, and the rest of the Kansas City Chiefs were among the happiest men in the Phoenix area Sunday night after winning the NFL’s Super Bowl 57, but earlier in the day, Scottie Scheffler didn’t fare too badly himself in the desert. Here our WM Phoenix Open 2023 Recap

Scottie Scheffler scrambled with the best of them after hitting just five of 14 fairways on a windy TPC Scottsdale to shoot a six-under 65 and win the WM Phoenix Open by two strokes at -19 for the tournament. Scheffler won this tournament for the second-straight year, defending a title at an event in his first attempt. His playoff win over Patrick Cantlay in 2022 marked the first win of his career and began a run of four wins in his next six events. 

“I hit some wild shots off the tee that were pretty uncharacteristic for how I usually shape the ball. I was just able to grind it out, make a lot of putts,” Scheffler said after the victory.

Despite going for his first-career win last year, Scheffler’s caddie said that the final round this time around was more intense.

“It was a lot more stressful this year playing with Jon Rahm, who went to school here and knows the desert very well,” said caddie Ted Scott. “And then Nick Taylor lives out here and it seemed like he knew every shot, every putt. Also, there were expectations this year, where last year I think we were on 14, like, hey, if we make some birdies, we might have a chance.”

Scheffler was tied for the lead at the halfway mark and was ahead by two strokes going into play on Sunday. Rahm, who has already won twice in 2023, birdied three out of the first six holes in the final round but cooled off, ending up with a 68 to finish in third place. Taylor matched Scheffler’s 65 to finish runner-up.

“I didn’t feel like I made bad swings, but I put myself in bad spots,” Rahm said. “… If you told me early in the week 19-under was going to be winning I would think they would have won by six or seven because of the wind conditions we had all week.”

Scheffler’s win also put him back on top of the Official World Golf Ranking. Former No. 1 Rory McIlroy finished tied for 32nd at -4. By winning the first full-field designated event on the PGA Tour schedule, Scheffler also pockets $3.6 million of a tournament-record $20 million purse. He also jumped to fifth in the FedEx Cup standings.

Justin Thomas (-13) and Jason Day (-12) rounded out the top five. Sam Burns, Sungjae Im, Jordan Spieth, and Tyrrell Hatton all tied for sixth at 11-under par. Rickie Fowler, who sank the third hole-in-one of his career on the seventh hole, tied for 10th with Xander Schauffele, Adam Hadwin, and Wyndham Clark.

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Tiger Woods plays his first non-major on the PGA Tour since October 2020 when he tees off at the Genesis Invitational this week in the Los Angeles area. In another designated event, 23 of the top 25 golfers in the world will be in SoCal, including Scheffler, Rahm, and McIlroy. Defending champion Joaquin Niemann will not be in the field since he is now a member of LIV Golf.

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