SCOTTSDALE, Arizona –
Nick Taylor scored an emotional victory last year at the Canadian Open, capped by an unforgettable entrance.
The 35-year-old Canadian created more memories at the Phoenix Open with a great play to defeat Charley Hoffman.
Taylor rallied from three down with four holes left in regulation and made an 11-foot birdie putt to beat Hoffman on the second hole of a playoff Sunday, capping another wild week at the Phoenix Open.
“The finish was like a dream and making all those putts was a lot of fun,” Taylor said. “The atmosphere was amazing all week.”
Taylor took advantage of that late in her round after working in ideal scoring conditions most of the afternoon. He found his rhythm at just the right time, closing a 6-under 65 with a 9-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th to force a playoff. He and Hoffman, 47, finished at 21-under 263.
Both players birdied the extra hole and reached the 18th green for the second time: Taylor from the right gross, Hoffman from the left fairway bunker. Hoffman left his putt short and Taylor birdied the hole for the third time in less than an hour as the sun sank below the horizon.
“I didn’t really miss, so I have to give credit to Nick,” said Hoffman, who hasn’t won on tour since 2016 and has dealt with back problems in recent years. “He birdied four of the last five holes he played. I take my hat off to him 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 doors (and, gulp, cut off liquor sales) when things started to get out of hand on Saturday.
Taking advantage of the first nice day of the week in the desert, Hoffman moved into contention by finishing with a 64 at TPC Scottsdale’s 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-stroke lead when he finished with a second straight 64.
Taylor didn’t let him take the trophy yet.
He had an emotional finish to the 2023 Canadian Open, making 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 was made more memorable when a security guard tackled Adam Hadwin, Taylor’s friend and fellow Canadian player, as he ran onto the green to celebrate.
Hadwin was there to congratulate Taylor again in the desert, but this time he managed to stay on his feet.
“He was wearing the same suit, but luckily he wasn’t approached by a security guard,” Taylor said.
Taylor shot to a course-record 60 in the first round, his five-stroke lead equaling the largest after 18 holes on the PGA Tour since 1983.
Taylor finished with a 68 in the morning’s third round, but stalled after a birdie on No. 9. He came alive with consecutive birdies starting on No. 15 and finished with three birdies on the 18th after missing a birdie. . putt on number 17.
“That 18th tee shot has given me trouble in the past,” said Taylor, runner-up in the event to Scottie Scheffler last year. “To hit three good ones and make birdie three times is incredible.”
Scheffler, the two-time reigning champion, jumped into contention with five consecutive birdies to complete his third round, shooting a 66 in the morning despite leaving the green into a bunker for a bogey on the 18th hole.
The World No. 1 briefly held the lead early in the final round before his putter went cold, ending his bid for his first PGA Tour hat trick in 13 years. Scheffler nearly reached the stadium’s par-3 16th hole, but was too far back to catch Hoffman. He shot 66 to tie Sam Burns for third place at 18 under.
“I would say I’m a little frustrated,” Scheffler said. “I didn’t really finish the way I wanted to, but this week I gave myself a good chance.”
So did Taylor, and he finished it off.