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Scheffler defends Waste Management championship, reclaims top spot in world rankings

“I knew it was going to take a great round,” Scheffler said. “Nobody was going to give this golf tournament to me. I had to go out and earn it. I was definitely proud of the result.”

Scheffler’s 19-under 265 total was two strokes better than Nick Taylor and secured his fifth PGA Tour title and first win since the Masters in April. It also lifted him back to the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking.

The tour recently named the Waste Mangement to one of its “designated events” this season, a tag that comes with an elevated purse of $20 million. The tour decided to put money toward the 17 designated events in an effort to bring the world’s best golfers together more consistently. And that meant that Scheffler had to compete with Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele and Tony Finau.

But in the end, it was Canadian Nick Taylor – a Scottsdale resident who regularly practices and plays at TPC Scottsdale – who posed the strongest challenge.

Taylor caught Scheffler with a birdie at No. 10, knocking his approach to 3 feet, but Scheffler took control of the tournament for good by hitting driver and an 8-iron to 22 feet at the par-5 13th and rolling in the eagle putt. With unwavering confidence in his putt, Scheffler lifted his putter even while the ball was a few feet away from the cup.

Taylor was on fire, he made six birdies in his first 13 holes and was bogey-free until missing a 7-foot par putt at 16. Taylor matched Scheffler with 65, finishing two strokes back in second, and earning the largest check of his career ($2.18 million).

“I played great today. I felt like I didn’t really make any mistakes maybe until 16,” Taylor said. “I would love the chip back (which raced 7 feet by the hole). I felt like that was one I could potentially hole. It was still a tricky chip, but one I would like to do little bit better.”

Having made just two bogeys throughout the entire tournament and none in the final round, Scheffler has grown fond of TPC Scottsdale, appearing in the final group at the WM Phoenix Open for two consecutive years. He clinched his first title last year after rallying from a two-stroke deficit, and this time he held a comfortable two-shot lead heading into the final round. Although the outcome was uncertain until Scheffler’s crucial par save at the 16th, he secured victory when Taylor failed to match his effort moments later.

“I miss that putt on 16 it’s probably a little different story,” Scheffler said.

Scheffler’s lead swelled to two and he tacked on a birdie at 17 for good measure.

“I felt like I responded really well to the pressure those guys applied to me down the stretch,” Scheffler said. “The putter was, for sure, the key to the victory and I tip my cap to those guys and fortunately I came out on top. I’m looking forward to more battles with them.”

Rickie Fowler, the 2019 WM Phoenix Open champion, made the shot of the tournament with a hole-in-one at the 216-yard par-3 seventh hole. Rickis has been having a great come back year in 2023 and finished tied for 6th at nine under par.

The PGA tour now heads into The Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles, another designated event that will feature a rare start by tournament host Tiger Woods.

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